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August 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 8
Regulation Watch

New E-911 Legislation to Offer Interconnection Rights and Liability Limitations

It’s very likely that by the time you read this, Congress will have passed new E-911 legislation. As of mid-June, the Senate passed an amended version of HR 3403, a bill aimed at the deployment of IP-enabled 911 and enhanced 911 (E911) services. Although the version passed by the Senate contains stylistic changes to the original bill, the House of Representatives must still agree to the Senate version before the bill can be signed into law by the President. Like other bills of this kind, HR 3403 requires IP-enabled voice service providers to provide 911 and E911 service to their subscribers pursuant to the FCC’s (News - Alert) VoIP E911 Order (or any modifications made by the FCC to existing requirements). However, the bill also provides that any IP-enabled voice service provider that seeks capabilities to provide 911 and E911 service from an entity with ownership or control over such capabilities (i.e., ILECs), has the right to access such capabilities, including interconnection, in order to provide 911 and E911services on the same rates, terms, and conditions that are provided to a provider of commercial mobile services.

HR 3403 further requires the FCC to issue regulations implementing these requirements within 90 days of enactment of the bill (and allows the FCC to delegate authority to enforce the regulations to state commissions or other state or local agencies). The regulations should “take into account any technical, network security, or information privacy requirements that are specific to IP-enabled voice services”, and provide for any capabilities that are not required to be made available to a commercial mobile service provider but that the FCC determines are necessary to carry out the purposes of the bill.

The bill provides that it is not meant to in any way prevent the imposition and collection of any state fees or charges applicable to commercial mobile services or IP-enabled voice services for the support or implementation of 911 or E911 service programs. The bill contains provisions governing FCC reporting on state fees, FCC registration of IP-enabled providers, FCC compilation of PSAP contact information and 911 elements, and development of PSAP coverage and operational standards. It also calls for the development of a plan for the migration to an IP-enabled emergency network. Finally, the bill would modify existing wireless provider liability protections to include IP-enabled voice service providers, and would allow IP-enabled providers to share customer information for purposes of 911 or E911 call routing or emergency service purposes. IT

William B (News - Alert). Wilhelm is a partner in the law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP ( The preceding represents the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Bingham McCutchen LLP or its clients.

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