Saturday, July 26, 2008

USA - emergency services and VoIP - 911

Law gives new access, protection to VoIP

Phone calls made over voice over internet protocol to 911 numbers will have the same access and protections as other 911 technologies under a measure recently signed by President Bush.

The New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 seeks to , ensure 911 service is available during an emergency. Some VoIP networks are already able to connect 911 systems.

The law also seeks to ensure ensure that future 911 networks are able to serve rural America.

“This will help emergency responders save more lives by ensuring that our nation’s 911 laws are up-to-date with new technologies,” said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Fifty percent of American counties, boroughs and parishes do not have enhanced 911 capabilities. To ensure that all communities are able to take advantage of the next generation 911 network, the law requires a study to identify mechanisms and timetables for developing next generation 911 capabilities.

The study also will incorporate altitude information and identify technical solutions to address multi-story buildings where identifying the building address is not sufficient for the system to work.

1 comment:

Fletch said...

Nortel also supports this initiative and is pleased to see that our continued efforts for public education of E911 as well as location discovery of VoIP and nomadic IP devices in a corporate environment are reinforced and specifically called out in this important Act.

Millions of people spend much of their day in an office building using advanced VoIP communications, yet very few understand the impact that technology can have on E911 if not properly implemented and managed. Defining and enforcing standards in this environment can only save lives. We are proud to be a contributor to the solution for this growing problem.

NENA, the National Emergency Number Association has also been taking steps to encourage legislation at the state level, but the fact of the matter is that very few states (only 14 in fact)actually have any 9-1-1 laws on the books requiring enterprises to implement any additional functionality that would allow for a 9-1-1 dispatcher to obtain more accurate location information from their PBX. The saddest part of this story is that the technology actually exists, and is often left provisioned in many PBX systems installed today.

There have been stories in the news over the years of people who have experienced significant delays in emergency services response, or worse yet actually died, due to telephone system not having 911 implemented properly.

Thank you to all who contributed to this important legislation. Without the continued support from the telecommunications and Public Safety industry, actions like this would not be possible.

Mark Fletcher, ENP
Nortel Emergency Services Product Line Manager

MLTS Workgroup Technical Subcommittee Chair