The Senate just passed the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act of 2007 which amends the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 to impose on IP communications service providers engaged in interstate or foreign communication a requirement to provide 9-1-1 service, including enhanced 9-1-1 service, to its subscribers.
Furthermore, this bill requires the FCC to issue regulations granting these providers right of access to 9-1-1 components (read direct PSAP connectivity) that are necessary to provide 9-1-1 service, on the same rates, terms, and conditions that are provided to commercial mobile service providers. It further requires the providers to establish a point of contact for public safety and government officials relative to 9-1-1 service and access.
Finally it authorizes the FCC to delegate enforcement authority to state agencies or programs with emergency communications jurisdiction.
This is good news for IP communications market as providers will no longer be second class citizens when it comes to providing 911 service. Moreover, the stigma that VoIP providers are less secure than traditional carriers will in theory go away.
What needs to happen now is that pure VoIP providers need to provide bullet-proof service to their subscribers. This in my opinion is a great day for IP communications.