TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Vonage Changes 911 to Opt-Out

Re: Vonage Changes 911 to Opt-Out

Mark Peters (
Fri, 13 May 2005 16:10:08 -0500

A big problem is visitors, especially children who have been taught to
dial 911 in case of an emergency. A device that looks like a phone and
provides dial tone is expected to behave like a phone which includes
911. 911 should not be opt-in or opt-out. 911 should be there. E911 is
the goal.

If there is the possibility of having children visit the house, how do
you propose instructing the visiting children that the phones do not
work properly in emergencies? How do you check that these children
really understand the difference in the phones?

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I am not sure that is going to be an
> improvement. At least now, (with opt-in) if a person takes the
> messages he receives seriously and makes an effort to get 911 turned
> on, as I did, he is going to have at least some working knowledge of
> the limitations of the system. The hassle now are those people who
> 'just assume VOIP works like any other phone'. Most of the time, those
> people know from nothing, all of a sudden have an emergency and dial
> into 911, find it unavailable then the VOIP carrier catches hell for
> it. At least VOIP can now respond, "We _told_ you and you agreed to
> our terms."

> The people who 'just assume' are still going to be around, but VOIP
> really does leave itself open for a lawsuit when they begin to contend
> (by making it an opt-out function) that VOIP is 'just like any other
> phone', when in fact 911 will possibly be the critical distinction
> why it is not. Now the dummies can truthfully say "you never told me".
> I hope, for legal reasons, VOIP holds off on the conversion between
> opt-in/opt-out until they have so throughly and completely tested it
> under stressful conditions that they _know_ it will work for the
> largest number of their customers. PAT]

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