911 Improvement Act protects VoIP 911 calls

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 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.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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