911 Service Capabilities
Your service provider recognizes that having 911 emergency services calling capabilities for VoIP end user subscribers is a necessity. Even though some VoIP providers make this an ancillary offering with your service provider, it is a standard service. Realization of full 911 services on the VoIP level is going through implementation phases similar to what the cellular industry faced several years ago. The 911 infrastructure, originally designed for wire line customers, needs to adapt to new communication technologies that have broad appeal and the process of architecting that infrastructure for VoIP is underway today. Eventually there will be little distinction between a VoIP call and a wire line call in the way it is processed through the 911 system.
The following is a description of our current 911 capabilities and where we expect to be in the future:
Our current VoIP service provides 911 local access to the administrative offices of the Public Safety Answering Points, (PSAP’s) or the authority capable of handling an emergency call. Current wire line calls to E911 are routed to the PSAP with calling number and address information automatically sent and validated. This differs from our current VoIP 911 scenario in that a caller to 911 will need to provide the PSAP with their address information and number. This administration office method is available in most areas, however there may be some PSAP locations that will not handle a VoIP call for 911 service because they may not have the resources to accept VoIP calls in that manner.
As customers are recognizing the cost benefits of VoIP services, they are also realizing the value of being able to take their phone wherever they go and have instant VoIP service. This ease of mobility option does however present challenges with 911. Today if a customer takes his/her phone for business travel or other purposes, the number associated with that phone also travels. If the mobile person were to dial 911, the call today would go to the PSAP associated with that number not to the area the customer is in. In the third phase of the development of 911 capabilities for VoIP, the mobile user will be able to actually designate a location they are calling from and provide updates as necessary. Technology and equipment are currently being developed to handle this situation and we will remain updated on those developments as they occur.
The momentum to ensure that 911 capabilities are in place for VoIP service providers and subscribers is quickly building. Both state and federal regulatory agencies are addressing a number of public policy issues relating to VoIP, including 911 capabilities. Some local access providers, like Verizon, are opening their 911 systems to provide connectivity to VoIP service providers. Our company will continue to be very aggressive in our approach to implementing the most comprehensive 911 capabilities technically available for VoIP within the most expeditious timeframes feasible for deployment. We are keenly attuned to regulatory developments, compliance requirements and market needs related to 911 and other VoIP related matters and will ensure that we will continue as a market leader in VoIP network services and applications, including 911.