Enhancing Public Safety!

Voice over IP pioneer (and friend), Jeff Pulver wrote a great blog post yesterday hailing the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 signed by President Bush.

Quoting Jeff, this law “finally provides VoIP providers with better tools for direct access to the 911 network and the liability relief necessary”. Further, “This is the first major piece of telecommunications legislation signed into law this year — and it happens to be a bill designed to help advance VoIP”.

“…VoIP providers have made extraordinary efforts and now provide E911 to a greater percentage of subscribers than any other kind of voice service. Its been the fastest and broadest onetime implementation of E-911 in the history of public safety. As a result of these unprecedented effort by VoIP providers, Americans who dial 911 using interconnected VoIP services can now rest assured they can reach help in an emergency. It is a particularly remarkable achievement considering that no underlying network connectivity provider can yet offer VoIP providers the ability to connect to all selective routers nationwide. This bill now gives VoIP providers a chance to expand their base, and VoIP consumers assurances that they can be safe and secure using a dependable VoIP service”…

… “The advent of VoIP, including interconnected VoIP services, is ushering in a new era of disaster-proof communications systems. VoIP and other IP-based communications services increasingly serve as the foundation of “survivable” networks that provide reliable and efficient connectivity in emergency situations even when key infrastructure has been disabled or destroyed. Because it operates over decentralized IP networks with redundant paths between any two points, interconnected VoIP service mitigates the dire consequences that can otherwise result from single points of failure.
The VoIP communications industry is justifiably proud of the technology’s achievements in the public safety arena, and it continues to make emergency services a key priority. Yet in light of interconnected VoIP’s impressive track record and largely untapped public safety potential, VoIP providers need this new law to help remove the barriers that can make these vital public safety technologies available in more regions and in more ways
”.

So what does this low actually mean? The VoIP industry as a whole showed another major step of its maturity and its ability to provide quality service both as replacement to incumbent services and complementary! It means that the legislators have recognized VoIP to deserve equal protection as the incumbents.
Quoting from the VON Coalition press release: “(the new law) Gives public safety, interconnected VoIP providers and others involved in handling 911 calls the same liability protections when handling 911 calls from interconnected VoIP users as from mobile or wired telephone service users”.

Phone.com congratulates all involved!

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