Public-Safety and Internet Leaders Connect on 911

National Emergency Number Association and VoIP leaders agree to provide emergency service access for VoIP users.

by / December 5, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and members of the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry have forged an agreement on key elements for providing emergency 911 service to VoIP users.

Participating companies and organizations endorse the principles in the agreement. Additional VoIP vendors and providers are encouraged to join this effort.

NENA and the companies have agreed upon the following action items:

-For service to customers using phones that have the functionality and appearance of conventional telephones, 911 emergency services access will be provided (at least routing to a Public Safety Access Point (PSAP) 10-digit number) within a reasonable time (three to six months),and prior to that time inform customers of the lack of such access.

-When a communications provider begins selling in a particular area, it should discuss with the local PSAPs or their coordinator the approach to providing access. This obligation does not apply to any "roaming" by customers.

-Support for current NENA and industry work toward an interim solution
that includes (a) delivery of 911 call through the existing 911
network, (b) providing callback number to the PSAP, and (c) in some
cases, initial location information.

-Support for current NENA and industry work towards long-term solutions that include (a) delivery of 911 calls to the proper PSAP, (b) providing callback number/recontact information to the PSAP, (c) providing location of caller; and (d) PSAPs having direct IP connectivity.

-Support for an administrative approach to maintaining funding of 911 resources at a level equivalent to those generated by current or evolving funding processes.

-Development of consumer education projects involving various industry participants and NENA public education committee members to create suggested materials so that consumers are fully aware of 911 capabilities and issues.

By this agreement, NENA and the Internet communications industry have demonstrated the ability for public safety and industry to work together effectively on a voluntary basis, forging an agreement on 911 that will protect the interests of consumers, businesses and emergency personnel. The agreement recognizes the growing potential of VoIP and the universal need for consistent and reliable access to emergency services.

A not-for-profit corporation, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is dedicated to the study, advancement and implementation of 9-1-1 as America's universal emergency number.

The VoIP industry was represented by the Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition, which has worked with policy-makers on behalf of the VoIP industry since 1996. Several individual companies also participated in the discussions, including 8x8, AT&T Consumer Services, BroadSoft, dialPad, ITXC, Level 3 Communications, Level 3 Enhanced Services, PointOne,, Vonage and Webley.
Miriam Jones Chief Copy Editor
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