S.800 Passes U.S. House


Contact: Sonya Carius, (800) 332-3911

Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act (S.800)Passes in U.S. House—Makes 9-1-1 The Universal Emergency Phone Number

Columbus, Ohio (October 13, 1999)—The U.S. House of Representatives passedSenate Bill 800 (S.800) in a 424 to 2 vote yesterday, with the support of theNational Emergency Number Association (NENA) and other public safetyorganizations. The Bill, known as the Wireless Communications and Public SafetyAct of 1999, will now await a signature from President Clinton.

S.800, which passed the Senate on August 5, is most publicly known because itrecognizes 9-1-1 as the universal emergency telephone number in theUnited States. This designation applies to both wireline/land line and wirelesstelephone services. The new legislation allows for appropriate transitionperiods for areas in which 9-1-1 is not in place as an emergency phone number.NENA estimates that 10 percent of the U.S. population remains without any typeof 9-1-1 service.

In addition, S.800 will meet the nation’s public safety and othercommunications needs by supporting the states in upgrading 9-1-1 infrastructureand programs, furthering deployment of wireless/cellular 9-1-1 service, andencouraging the installation and operation of seamless and reliable networks forpersonal wireless services.

“This Bill provides wireless users, operators and telephone companiesthe same protection from liability that is currently enjoyed by wirelesstelephone companies,” noted William H. Hinkle, president of NENA.”This protection will now allow wireless carriers to move forward inproviding critical life saving technology for the benefit of the Americanpublic. We encourage the president to sign this Bill.”

“NENA is grateful to the members of congress, especially RepresentativesTom Bliley, Billy Tauzin, John Dingell, Ed Markey, John Shimkus and SpeakerHastert, and Senators Conrad Burns, John McCain, Byron Dorgan, Majority LeaderLott and Assistant Majority Leader Nickles, who had the foresight to extend thebenefits of 9-1-1 services to America’s wireless users,” Hinkleconcluded.

The S.800 legislation is available in PDF format on the NENA web page atwww.nena.org.

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The National Emergency Number Association, a not-for-profit corporation, wasfounded in 1982 as a result of the first three national 9-1-1 meetings and tofurther the goal of “One Nation, One Number.” NENA has experiencedtremendous growth within a short time. Its membership tops 6,700 and continuesto climb with new chapters joining its present 45-chapter network.

NENA’s Mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability andimplementation of a universal emergency telephone number system. In carrying outits mission, NENA promotes research, planning, training and education. Theprotection of human life, the preservation of property, and the maintenance ofgeneral community security are among NENA’s objectives.