Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Senate Committee Approves E9-1-1 Improvement Act

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved the "E9-1-1 Improvement Act" (S.1063). If passed into law, the bill would:

  • require the FCC to develop new rules for VoIP 9-1-1 within 120 days,


  • give VoIP providers direct access to the 9-1-1 network,


  • establish FCC waiver authority to provide flexibility,


  • ensure VoIP services are never cut off due to issues related to 9-1-1 capabilities,


  • provide equivalent liability protection for VoIP 911 as other phone services,


  • acknowledge the importance of industry's role in developing technological standards and solutions for automatically identifying the geographic location of users of nomadic VoIP service,


  • and require the creation of a national plan for a next generation 9-1-1 system that uses VoIP to provide breakthrough advances in emergency communications.


Staci Pies, President of the VON Coalition, said "There is a growing recognition among policymakers that there are distinct technical differences between fixed and nomadic VoIP, and that providing 9-1-1 and enhanced 9-1-1 services is a responsibility shared by many. They recognize that providing E9-1-1 requires Incumbent phone companies to provide reasonable access to the 9-1-1 network itself, equivalent liability relief for 9-1-1 call takers, and assurances that someone will be there to answer the phone. Importantly, the legislation also ensures that VoIP customers are not cut off from vital communications services. This legislation focuses not only on what is achievable today, but on developing a comprehensive national plan for creating a next generation 9-1-1 network capable of a host of breakthrough emergency enhancements."http://www.senate.govhttp://www.von.org

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