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02/28/2008

NENA and APCO Support Passage of the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act

Washington, D.C.—After nearly three years of hard work, the United States Senate approved the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act of 2007 (S 428) on the evening of Tuesday, February 26. NENA and APCO strongly support this bill which will improve our nation's 9-1-1 system. We applaud the leadership of the co-sponsors of the bill, Senators Clinton, Snowe and Lautenberg, and in particular, Senator Bill Nelson, who worked tirelessly to get this legislation approved. We also thank the efforts of Chairman Daniel Inouye and Vice-Chairman Ted Stevens, and all of the staff involved, who were instrumental in achieving a compromise to move the bill forward.

Making 9-1-1 service available and effective for all Americans today and in the future as technology advances is a top priority for NENA and APCO. There is currently no more important issue than ensuring emerging technologies are able to seamlessly connect to the 9-1-1 system and that we as a nation are taking steps to advance towards a Next Generation 9-1-1 and emergency communications system. NENA and APCO remain focused on the need for continued deployment of E9-1-1 for all technologies, the need for appropriate liability protections for 9-1-1 telecommunicators and service providers, and the need to ensure adequate funding is available for today's 9-1-1 system as well as the migration to an IP-based Next Generation 9-1-1 system. The IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act is a step in the right direction to make these important priorities a reality.

There is still work to be done, however. While S 428 and the House companion, the 911 Modernization Act of 2007 (HR 3403), are similar pieces of legislation, there are some differences in the two bills that must be addressed. NENA and APCO are prepared to work closely to advocate for a final bill that will best advance 9-1-1 service for all Americans, with an eye towards the future, and without unnecessarily limiting the authority of the FCC or state and local governments.

Like its House companion, the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act is critically important legislation for the 9-1-1 community. NENA and APCO thank all those involved who enabled its passage and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure a conference process soon produces a final bill for the President to sign into law. On the heels of the 40th anniversary of the first ever 9-1-1 call, it is good to see that progress continues to be made to make sure our 9-1-1 system continues to advance in these rapidly changing technological times.

About the National Emergency Number Association NENA is The Voice of 9-1-1T. NENA promotes implementation and awareness of 9-1-1 as North America's universal emergency number. NENA is the leading professional non-profit organization dedicated solely to 9-1-1 emergency communications issues. NENA serves its nearly 7,000 members in 48 chapters across the U.S., Canada and Mexico through policy advocacy, establishment of technical and operational standards, certification programs and a broad spectrum of educational offerings. Find out more at www.nena.org.

About APCO International
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. APCO International serves the professional needs of its 15,000 members worldwide by creating a platform for setting professional standards, addressing professional issues and providing education, products and services for people who manage, operate, maintain and supply the communications systems used by police, fire and emergency medical dispatch agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit www.apcointl.org.


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