TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Texas Sues Vonage Over 911 Problem

Re: Texas Sues Vonage Over 911 Problem

DevilsPGD (
Wed, 23 Mar 2005 16:50:15 -0700

In message <> DevilsPGD
<> wrote:

> In message <> Jack Decker
> <jack-yahoogroups@withheld on request> wrote:

>> A Vonage spokeswoman said the company was surprised to hear of the
>> litigation and pointed out there are numerous references, both on the
>> Internet and material mailed to customers, explaining the 911
>> service's limitations and its proactive nature. Abbott's office
>> contacted New Jersey-based Vonage about a week ago asking for
>> marketing materials and other information; the company hadn't heard
>> anything since it replied with the materials two days ago, the
>> spokeswoman said.

> I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Vonage should not be
> offering 911 at all, rather, they should be highlighting the fact that
> emergency call centers do not allow Vonage to route emergency calls to
> the right place (so their only option is to dump the call to an
> administrative number.)

> Personally, I'd rather have attempts to dial 911 get the "Stop, this
> phone does not have 911 service" then get through to someone who can't
> or won't help.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But wouldn't the ideal arrangement be
> like here? A number designated for 'emergency but not 911' phone is
> terminated on the consoles of the persons who respond for police, etc,
> and they are tipped off "if this line, with its unusual cadence in
> ringing goes off, it is to be treated like any other emergency call".

> Our dispatchers answer not only the occassional 911 call, but they
> also answer for the city hall offices. The PSAP people (at Vonage, and
> elsewhere) are told to connect with them as needed _using one of the
> back lines_ on the city hall group; a line which would almost never
> get calls on its own. Now, if _that phone_ rings/flashes, treat it as
> a priority emergency call. The same woman sitting there taking calls
> for the city hall centrex/switchboard sees that one phone give out a
> continuous (never pausing) ring with the light on the wall flashing at
> a furious pace says 'ah, it is an emergency call from a system which
> cannot (for whatever reason) use 911. She answers it and makes
> dispatch as needed. Does not seem like that major of problem. That
> single phone, by the way, also has a caller-ID device on it, and a
> rather detailed map on the wall as well, so the dispatcher gets the
> essence of the desired information, even if not every single bit of
> it. Ah, but that would involve _training_ the dispatchers in possibly
> a new procedure. Do you think their Civil Servants Union would allow
> that sort of a requirement?

No, the ideal solution is to route the calls to the same place as 911
calls. They should enter the 911 call center just like every other
911-addressed call center comes in.

Like with a cell phone there is no confirmed address, but that didn't
stop cell phones from offering 911.

The only reason cell phones get 911 service and VoIP gets screwed
around is that cell phones were initially only deployed by telcos and
weren't seen as a threat to telcos.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Very true, but given the inability to
immediatly provide the location until there are some changes in the
way the 'system' operates, shouldn't there be some 'make do' solution
used in the interim? If some combination of dedicated phone lines and
caller ID can be employed, why not use those? And we know it is
possible to force caller-ID to say whatever we want it to say, so why
can't Vonage (or other VOIP carriers offering 911 service) dummy up
their PSAP databases with the desired information to be sent to the
'caller ID' devices attached to these 'special' phones? Or, in your
opinion is it better to do without since it cannot be done perfectly
right from the start?

We've had that discussion about spam a few times haven't we? No one
simple solution, everything has pitfalls, so wring our hands and do
nothing. 911 has politics involved, just like spam, its easier to
claim it is 'very complex problem', and do nothing about it, and
when our public servants get on a tangent about it, bow and grovel and
twist to meet their desires instead. PAT]

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