As IP-based technologies become the norm, the 911 system needs to be overhauled to handle a variety of communication forms, according to a report released this week 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 this week, when NENA officials briefed federal officials and congressional representatives on the challenges faced by the 911 system, which the current system was not designed to handle.

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.

“It’s critically important that Congress and our federal colleagues at the FCC, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce among others, recognize the urgent need for change in the fundamental way our 9-1-1 system is designed, funded and operated,” NENA President David Jones said in a prepared statement. “The traditional federal, state and local roles have to be re-evaluated, and new federal and state legislation needs to be considered.”