As IP-based technologies become the norm, the 911 system must be overhauled to handle a variety of communication forms, according to a report released by the National Emergency Number Association.

The report, “Next Generation 9-1-1: Responding to an Urgent Need for Change,” summarizes the initial recommendations of NENA's NG E911 Program, including the need for a “system of systems” architecture that will let the 911 program thrive into the future.

Although not formally part of the i3 standards process, the recommendations included in the NENA report likely will be considered as the next-generation standards requirements are established, said Robert Cobb, NENA's director of development and NG E911 Program manager.

“It's a framework [for i3] but not the requirements themselves,” Cobb said.

NENA released the report during its “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” event, when NENA officials briefed federal officials and congressional representatives on the challenges facing the current 911 system.

In particular, the report notes research estimating that 23% to 37% of all U.S. wireless subscribers will use their mobile phone as their primary phone by 2009. That same year, the number of voice-over-IP (VoIP) users is expected to exceed 27 million — nine times the number of VoIP subscribers today. Given these changes, significant changes in the 911 system are required in the future, according to the report.