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Summary:

First a death in Texas, and now another one in Florida, this e911 is going to become a hot button issue in the coming days, especially for Vonage, which has become the public face of the VoIP technology. This report says that a Volusia County, Florida […]

First a death in Texas, and now another one in Florida, this e911 is going to become a hot button issue in the coming days, especially for Vonage, which has become the public face of the VoIP technology. This report says that a Volusia County, Florida couple is working hard to shut down Vonage, because they could not reach 911 service over their Vonage phone connection. As a result, the “Waller family says their three-month-old daughter stopped breathing recently and, when they called 9-1-1, they didn’t get a live operator, they got a recording.” The baby died soon after.

Cheryl and Joseph Waller blame their Internet phone service, Vonage, for not linking them to a human being.’I want them to shut down. They’re putting people’s lives in danger for the quick dollar,’ said Joseph Waller .A Vonage spokesperson told Channel 9 that their records show the 9-1-1 call was processed and routed correctly and that the call lasted several minutes, but she could not say if the call went to an actual operator.

Vonage has been sued by State Attorney Generals of three states – Texas, Michigan and Connecticut. I think this will only give more ammunition to FCC for regulating VoIP. Vonage has worked with Verizon to implement a e911 service in the Verizon footprint (via Intrado). BellSouth and Qwest will be onboard next it seems. Andy says Vonage & SBC were close to testing a 911 service last year.

  1. I am a vonage subscriber and want to know what is at the end of my 911. Can I just call 911 at various hours of the day to test? Probably send a patrol car to the house but at least I would know the situation before it was too late.

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  2. Earle how about calling your phone operator – Vonage and asking them what the situation really is

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  3. Prompted by the suggestion implied in the question, it might be a good idea for VoIP service providers to have a mechanism (either via phone or through web) whereby the subscribers can find out where the call will end up ifthey dial 911 and also what location information will be delivered to the 911 operator.

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  4. that is actually a simple, yet very clever suggestion aswath.

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  5. Jesse Kopelman Friday, May 6, 2005

    All of this makes me wonder if the recent round of funding for Vonage should have gone to Intrado instead.

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  6. E911, the Hottest Button of VoIP

    Back in March, I wrote the following in a note regarding the importance of five 9s reliability:
    “Of course five 9s is highly desirable, because of the possible consequences of a service outage (even as temporary as it might be).  Here, the notio…

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  7. VoIP 911 to be regulated

    The FCC is pushing for VoIP 911 Regulation in the US. Likewise, in Canada the CRTC is expected to rein in big phone companies on VoIP service . Some people may think all this is a huge problem for the VoIP industry. As stated by Johna Till Johnson, in …

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  8. Vonage and 911

    Because of shortcomings in the way Vonage handles 911 calls, I would not recommend the service as a replacement for a primary PSTN line.

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  9. IP 911 – From the Perfect Future to the Imperfect Now

    Someday in the not too distant future IP 911 will be much better than E911 provided as part of traditional phone service is today.

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