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VoIP’s e911 Call for help

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We have all heard about Texas suing Vonage over the whole issue of a 17-year-old not being able to make a phone call to the cops when her family home was being robbed. I guess, Texas is fair in saying that Vonage should have told that. Now most media reports indicate, and I personally checked it out, Vonage is quite upfront about 911, and lets customers know that they have to sign-up. It was actually on the dash-board the first time you sign-up. MIT Technology Review found out that indeed Vonage people let customers know about this right away.

Vonage spokesperson Brooke Schulz says the issue is muddled by the fact that “the 911 center technology is operated by the local phone carriers,” Technology Review writes, “and getting them to open up their technology to competitors has been challenging.”

“We’ve asked every phone company for access,” to 911 centers, says Schultz. “We’ve only received a response from Bell South. They want to talk with us but in the meantime they said to get a CLEC certificate — essentially become a registered phone company.” The only reason Vonage has a trial running in Rhode Island is because the state owns and operates their system, says Schulz.

Now whatever their reasons might be, 911 is something no one should take lightly. I think this is an issue where FCC needs to really step-up to the plate, and the politcos should get their act together and fix this problem…now. Other wise this is exact what happens. Listen!

4 Responses to “VoIP’s e911 Call for help”

  1. clearly this is a politically motivated suit. everyone is playing the blame game here, but still i think the burden of proof sadly is going to fall on disruptors and in this case it is vonage. i guess we will see more of these issues crop up in months and years to come

  2. james murphy

    interesting but take a look at what vonage is offering in the UK. access to the emergency services when you dial 999.
    and it is also all over their website that there are limitations. you have to be blind, stupid or ignorant (perhaps these describe texas officials) to miss the warnings.

  3. Jesse Kopelman

    My own experience in trying do E911 on wireless networks is that PSAPs can be a pain to deal with. They each have their own esoteric processes and often do not have the necessary equipment in place on their end, even while demanding that the carriers upgrade their networks. I have dealt with Rhode Island and you can get things done with them, but only if you play exactly by their rules. New England is nice in that there are few PSAPs. States like PA and NY that have one for every county (and they have lots of counties), life sucks . . .

  4. VoIP is where DSL was back in 1999. RBOCs telling people “Go become a CLEC and then come back to talk to us”. It’s standard RBOC operating procedure and diversionary stalling tactic since becoming a CLEC requires significant money, time, lawyers, etc to pull off. The RBOCs might as well have told Vonage to go get elected the next Pope.