In article <email@example.com>, jack-
> [Comment: Since this originates in Texas, I cannot help but wonder if
> SBC had any involvement in this, even if only maybe by putting a bug
> in someone's ear at the AG's office. We will probably never know, but
> when I hear about something anti-VoIP coming out of Texas, that's just
> the way my mind wanders.]
> By Ben Charny, CNET News.com
> The attorney general of Texas is suing Internet phone provider Vonage,
> charging that the company isn't clear to its customers about
> deficiencies in its 911 service.
> Vonage 911 calls aren't routed in the traditional manner. Rather, most
> end up at the administrative offices of the 6,000 emergency calls
> centers rather than dispatchers. According to Abbott, the dangers of
> the circuitous route were exposed in early March when a 17-year-old
> Houston girl was unable to get through to police after dialing 911 on
> a Vonage phone after both her parents were shot by intruders.
> In the U.S. District Court suit, announced Tuesday, Attorney General
> Greg Abbott alleges that Vonage doesn't "clearly disclose the lack of
> traditional 911 access" nor adequately inform its customers they must
> first sign up for the free 911 service. Such an omission violates
> state law dealing with deceptive trade practices, the state attorney
> general alleges. The state is asking for civil penalties of more than
> $20,000 and an injunction requiring more conspicuous disclosure.
> 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.
> Full story at:
> Texas sues Vonage for lack of 911 call deficiency disclosure
> -Posted by Russell Shaw @ 10:17 am
> Earlier today, we reported that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
> said he's sued Vonage for not being clear about the limitations of
> its 911 service.
> A somewhat different circumstance prompted the lawsuit, however. Early
> this month, a 17 year-old Houston girl was unable to get through to
> the police on the family's Vonage line to inform them that her
> parents had been shot in a break-in.
> Full story at:
This is ridiculous. Vonage makes it abundantly clear that the 911
service they provide isn't E-911 service unless:
a) You live in Rhode Island where E-911 with VoIP works.
b) You provide the address information in the on-line control panel.
I'm not certain when Vonage posted this, but it clearly states that:
Your Call Will Go To A General Access Line at the Public Safety
Answering Point (PSAP). This is different from the 911 Emergency
Response Center where traditional 911 calls go.
* This means your call goes to a different phone number than
traditional 911 calls. Also, you will need to state the nature of your
emergency promptly and clearly, including your location and telephone
number, as Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) personnel will NOT
have this information on hand.
Service Outages Can Prevent 911 Dialing.
* 911 Dialing and Vonage Service DO NOT function during an
electrical power or broadband provider outage.
From the article I found this rather amusing:
'The Bells say they want to fix the problem but that the integration
with the Internet is technically complex. They flatly deny dragging
their feet. "Safety and security have to be the primary concern," says
Verizon's vice president of regulatory affairs.'
Huh? Every switch built in the last twenty years has had upgrades to
let the CLAN cards talk to the net. And Internet routing isn't exactly
rocket science. Securing it gets a little more complex but nothing
more than an LEC can handle.
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
> In message <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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.
Or be aware of what Vonage can connect to and what it can't.
Interestingly by setting up our E-911 system to play nicely with
alternative carriers our state PUC actually got something right. Rhode
Island is an interesting place, extremely business hostile but
extremely savvy when it comes to telecom.
How else would you explain our being the first state with an E-911 PSAP
that could get GPS data, and the first and only state currently able to
offer E-911 to VoIP customers.
This whole thing reeks of anti-competive behavior on the part of the
incumbent carriers. I would hope whatever flavor of the PUC is available
in Texas steps up to the AG and tells him not to make an ass of himself
because Vonage clearly states that E-911 may or may not work and that
the technical issues are only monopoly games.
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says:
> In article <email@example.com>, DevilsPGD
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> In message <email@example.com> Jack Decker
>> <jack-yahoogroups@withheld on request> wrote:
> Your claim above "emergency call centers do not allow..." is false; in
> fact, it's a key element of Vonage's public-relations effort on this
> *If* Vonage were willing to pay the same fees other local exchange
> carriers pay for 911 connectivity *in each LATA*, *then* Vonage could
> route 911 calls correctly. Avoiding this *cost* has been a major
> competitive win for Vonage all along and it is hard to not see it as
> a major reason, if not _the_ reason, why Vonage has fought state
> regulation as a local exchange carrier: by avoiding regulatory mandates
> like 911 service standards Vonage avoids the cost of compliance.
> What is truly irresponsible is to offer a "911" service that does not
> have the same user experience that Americans have been trained to expect
> from 911 for several decades. In a just world, Vonage would pay and pay
> indeed for their decision to make the provision of such a service part
> of their public-relations effort aimed at avoiding service quality
> regulation. This is a choice they made, not one they had forced on
> them; there are VoIP providers out there that did the right thing.
> People's safety in emergency situations should be quite simply out of
> bounds for this kind of political maneuvering. Of course, it's not,
> but darn it, it ought to be.
Interestingly the costs for E-911 staff and facilities in RI is paid for
by the state, not Verizon. Verizons only cost is the database.
I like that fact that our system is set up to stick it to Verizon.