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National Emergency Number Association Updates E9-1-1 for Multi-line Telephone Systems


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January 30, 2009

National Emergency Number Association Updates E9-1-1 for Multi-line Telephone Systems

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) recently updated its E9-1-1 for Multi-line Telephone Systems (MLTS) Model Legislation to assist jurisdictions considering MLTS E9-1-1 legislation with the task of drafting rules, regulations or statutes concerning the application of E9-1-1 requirements to owners and users of MLTS systems.

NENA put together a working group in 2007 to revisit and revise the MLTS Model Legislation (NENA 06-750 Technical Requirements Document on Model Legislation E9-1-1 for Multi-line Telephone Systems). The group was led by Mary Boyd, and included a Policy subcommittee headed by John Savaglio of AT&T (News - Alert) and a Technical subcommittee headed by Mark Fletcher of Nortel. Recent advances in MLTS E9-1-1 technology as well as a regulatory environment much different from that which prevailed in 2000 when the original MLTS Model Legislation was drafted prompted NENA to convene the group to update the existing document.

An ongoing challenge that faced the group, which is something that NENA has dealt with for years, is the fact that to-date no consensus has been achieved regarding the implementation of a national MLTS E9-1-1 standard. Until one is reached, states will continue to operate under  legislation crafted at the individual state level. The original intent of NENA’s Model Legislation was to give states some assistance in drafting such laws, with an aim toward supporting the development of a “national” standard.

Fourteen states have now enacted some form of MLTS E9-1-1 legislation that requires enterprises over a certain size and occupying multiple floors of a building, or those purchasing a new PBX (News - Alert), to implement E9-1-1 to protect their employees, residents, and visitors. The idea behind this legislation is to assure residents using VoIP and other telephony services in a MLTS environment that they will have the same access to emergency services as they do from traditional and wireless telephony services.

The Model Legislation continues to evolve as NENA reaps the benefits of suggestions from industry players and insiders. For example, one important recent change, based upon suggestions from Technical subcommittee member RedSky (News - Alert) Technologies, modified the definition of an MLTS Operator to specifically include adjunct system providers under the Limitation of Liability clauses contained in the Model Legislation.
The group also issued a new document, NENA 06-502 Technical Information Documents (TID) on Industry Common Mechanisms for E9-1-1 Caller Location Discovery and Reporting to reflect recent changes in technology that are now commonly available that were not generally deployed at the time of the original issue and to provide technical guidance and background to the policy and legislative provisions contained in the Model Legislation TRD. This TID was drafted to accompany the Model Legislation TRD; however, each document will be updated individually as determined by NENA. Revisions to the technical TID will reflect changes in such things as IP technology and fire zone and emergency response location definitions and technical means of identification as these changes and advance in the future.

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray

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