The National Emergency Number Association yesterday launched the Next Generation E911 Partner Program, which is designed to entice private-sector companies to work more closely with government officials and NENA to update and improve the nation’s 911 system. Working groups will be formed to develop a year-to-year plan to address implementation strategies and policy issues.

“Without greater partnership and collaboration among the many players involved, America’s 911 system may never live up to consumer expectations, and increasing numbers of Americans may be stranded in their times of need,” said NENA President Bill McMurray.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell praised the initiative is a statement. “We are in an era of rapid innovation and expanding consumer choices, and our nation's 911 system must keep pace with these advances in order to protect the public in times of emergency,” Powell said.

“This responsibility must be shared by all involved—landline and wireless telephone companies, Internet-based service providers, public-safety answering points, equipment manufacturers, and local, state and federal agencies. NENA's NG E911 leadership team is well positioned to lead this dialogue and help all the players translate the discussion into action.”