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Massachusetts Businesses Must Comply with New E911 Law


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July 06, 2009

Massachusetts Businesses Must Comply with New E911 Law

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Enhanced 911 solutions providers are turning their attention toward Massachusetts this week, as a new law with broader E911 requirements takes hold that will affect businesses installing, expanding or replacing multi-line phone systems.

Today marks the start of the first full week of the new regulations in the Bay State for E911 – a technology that, among other things, leverages location-based services to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of distressed 911 callers.
Starting July 1, under the new law, all new or substantially renovated multi-linetelephone systems must provide to end-users or subscribers the same level of E911service that’s provided to other end-users in the state. That service includes what’s known as “automatic location identification,” or “ALI.”
For businesses, in particular, multi-line telephone systems must transmit to public safety answering points, or “PSAPs,” the street address and an emergency response location that provides at least the building and floor location of the caller.
Michael Kass, the general counsel for Massachusetts’ State 911 Department, told TMCnet that it’s important for businesses owners and facility managers in the state to be aware of the new regulations, which took effect last week following several public hearings and a comment period.
To be in compliance, Kass said, any business, facility, agency, or institution that installs, replaces or expands its system by more than 50 percent “will need to ensure that their new or substantially renovated multi-line telephone system shall provide the same level of enhanced 911 service including ANI/ALI as is provided by all other wireline phones in the state.”
“The State 911 Department believes that these new regulations will have a strong positive impact on public safety in Massachusetts,” Kass said.
Specifically, the law requires buildings with a workspace of 22,500 square feet or less to transmit to the PSAP at least one ANI and at least one emergency response location with a street address and unit identifier for each building.
That sounds like a big job, and it is – as well as an important one.
Yet the job is made easier by companies that specialize in the field, such as Chicago-based RedSky Technologies, who markets E911 solutions for smaller businesses operating phone systems with 50 phones up to large, complex enterprises with thousands of phones and hundreds of locations.
According to Nicholas Maier, senior vice president for RedSky (News - Alert), organizations required to comply with the new law – and more and more states are adopting them – are lucky that they have choices in terms of what steps to take.
“Larger, more complex organizations might be better served by a full-featured E911 solution that automates the process of managing location information for phones and devices throughout their network and the updating of regional ALI databases, Maier told TMCnet. “Smaller organizations might choose to pay monthly for a simpler, less expensive hosted E911 service that enables the Web-based updating of regional ALI databases and routes 911 calls through cost-effective SIP trunking.”

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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