Senate Takes First Step Toward Modernizing 911 Systems

The Senate has passed a homeland security bill that includes funds for public safety answering points (PSAPs) to upgrade systems to accommodate E911.

The Senate on Tuesday evening passed the Improving America’s Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which included an amendment sponsored by Sens. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to upgrade 911 systems. The amendment formerly was a standalone bill dubbed the 911 Modernization Act of 2007.

We are long overdue in providing critical funding assistance for essential 911 system upgrades that are particularly needed in many remote areas, said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, the group that address communications issues

Demand for E911 is increasing as more consumers use VoIP and wireless services, rather than landlines. In the case of VoIP, this poses a problem when users do not manually update their whereabouts or when they use mobile VoIP services. VoIP E911 services do not automatically track a callers location, like wireless E911 does.

The 911 Modernization Act expedites the funding for new 911 technological upgrades, using money Congress already has allocated.

The 9/11 Commission Act also includes sections addressing road, rail and aviation security.

The House and Senate now must agree on the terms of the bill before it can become law.

U.S. Senate


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