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dan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:13 am    Post subject: 911 worries Reply with quote Back to top

While waiting for my phone number to get transferred to Vonage, I've been doing some reading and thinking about Vonage's 911 feature, and what I've found is a bit disconcerting. I guess I have three concerns about how this might work (or fail to work) in an emergency:

1) General Voip reliability concerns. You know, something like this: "Oh! You're having a heart attack! Um, just a sec, I have to run to the basement and reboot the ata..."

2) Questions about how well Vonage is setting up 911 service so a 911 call is directed properly: "Joe's Pizza. What's you emergency?"

3) Finally, I'm a bit concerned that someone might pick up a Vonage phone in an emergency and not understand that it is necessary to specify a location. After all, public safety officials have spent decades trying to teach people that in an emergency, in most locales, even if you are unable to talk, dialing 911 will summon help. Based on that assumption, it is possible that a guest or someone working in my home might make a (potentially fatal) mistake in how they use the Vonage phone in an emergency.

After thinking about all this I decided it was prudent to keep at least minimal POTS service as a backup in case of an emergency. But once I'd come to that conclusion, the whole financial rationale for Vonage also seemed to evaporate.

In my area (Michigan), the cheapest local service seems to be about $25.00 per month. If I combine that with Vonage at $35.00, we're talking a monthly total of $60.00. That's more than SBC for unlimited local and long distance dialing, and with SBC, I don't have to worry about 911!

Am I missing something?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

You have valid concerns. Where I live at in Texas, 911 is incorrect about 30 percent of the time. What concerns me more is people who use a cellular telephone has their only means to contact 911. The location is unknown, and if you are lucky, and your cell phone has a GPS option, the agency answering (if an advanced agency) only knows your location with 300 feet (or more).
I agree that the 911 on Vonage is not perfect, but you can always verify with the agency you list as your PSAP if they have the correct address for your Vonage telephone.
badloss
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:29 am    Post subject: Kinda Reply with quote Back to top

Well I was looking into it and if you want a very minimal phone line all you have to do is pay $2.00 a month but then if you make any calls under that line, the price goes up fast. This would just be a way of having 911 available to you.
dan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

badloss: Which company has the $2.00/month line?
-Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I've read that even if you have the phone co. disconnect your service, you can still dial 911 using the line that is run to your house and it will go through.

I have no idea if this is true or not (but I read it on the internet, so it must be true! Lol ).

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artin
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The phone company, by regulatory enforcement, has to provide basic emergency services in areas served by 911. What that usually means is that you cannot have a phone line without 911 access. That also means that they have to provide people with 911 access for whatever that access charge is without being a full customer (kind of like how cable companies must provide local channels for a regulated basic tier charge).

Now, I'm sure the marketing geniuses at the bells realize that this type of connection isn't a great money maker so who knows how in the heck to order that type of a line. The one possible twist on the situation - they may charge you a whole bunch to connect the line because you aren't getting their basic service package. Time Warner will gladly give you the local channels for the basic fee as required by law - after a lovely $100 trip charge for the connection and wiring.
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