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scerruti
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Joined: Feb 05, 2005
Posts: 1424
Location: Carlsbad, CA (finally)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Vonage's 911 Announcement Reply with quote Back to top

Just in time to get that last minute Christmas shopping done Vonage announces that 911 service is now available nationwide. However let's take a closer look at that press release and see what it really says.

Quote:
Vonage currently offers E911 or enhanced 911 throughout the U.S., by sending the call, along with the customer's address and phone number, to the proper local emergency call center based on the caller's street address. The caller's information is then displayed on the dispatcher's screen whenever they dial the digits 9-1-1 from a Vonage phone.


Great! Every Vonage phone line is now capable of E911, if your child dials 911 then your address shows up at the emergency call center.

As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend!"

Quote:
In the event local authorities cannot display the Vonage customer's phone number or address, Vonage offers basic 911.


Vonage is saying here that they have done everything they can do to implement E911 but that local companies involved with the emergency call centers may not support 911 calls from Vonage. This will especially be the case when the Vonage line calling 911 uses a non-local area code or exchange and the emergency call center is dependent on a 7 digit number or requires 10 digit numbers to be in a specific range.

But what about those customers who haven't activated 911, possibly because they travel with their adapters.

Quote:
Finally, Vonage provides an additional safety net to customers if traditional 911 methods fail or are not available: customers receive support from emergency trained personnel at Vonage's national 911 emergency response center, which is supported by APCO 33 trained personnel and serves customers throughout the U.S.


One hopes that SoftPhone users would be connected to Vonage's emergency response center as well.

Note, the lack of E911 services no longer appears to be Vonage's fault. The biggest problem in my mind is that the boneheads at the FCC required that the Voip carriers support traditional 911 rather than requiring emergency call centers to become Voip enabled. They put the cart before the horse. Vonage is working to get this changed as well.

My biggest problem with the message is this line at the top of the release;
Quote:
Today, any Vonage customer in the U.S. who dials 911, will get help when they need it most.


This is not true for the caller who can't speak or doesn't know his location. Vonage has been chastised already for lack of clarity on 911 issues. This statement was poorly worded.

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KDWycha
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I still dont trust it. If I want to dial 911 I will use my cell phone and tell my address. I dont want to test 911 because I do not feel like being arrested before christmas for a false 911 call. I wonder what kinda replies will be posted about people testing e-911. Curious if it is working Smile

What was the # to dial again to see if E-911 was available in your area? it was 311 or something.

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Kevin Wycha
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taylor2767
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

What was the # to dial again to see if E-911 was available in your area? it was 311 or something.[/quote]


I think it's 933
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KDWycha
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It still says the same thing it said months ago. That you will need to provide your name and address to the 911 operator. I know E-911 has to be available in Tampa, FL. Not like its a town of 100 people or anything.


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scerruti
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

KDWycha wrote:
It still says the same thing it said months ago. That you will need to provide your name and address to the 911 operator. I know E-911 has to be available in Tampa, FL. Not like its a town of 100 people or anything.


Yeah, I think this was another problem I had with the release. How many people actually have access to E911, the release implies that most have it. "In the event local authorities cannot display" certainly makes it sound like the exception.

I am in a local stay at home dads group here and I am not recommending Vonage to people as a replacement service unless they have a cell phone. I just don't trust the system. Again, I am not blaming Vonage for the problem, but I think this release was a disservice.

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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

taylor2767 wrote:
I think it's 933


Yes, I'm pretty sure it's 933. And the thing just said (when I tried it a couple of months ago):

"Congratulations! You have 911! Woohoo! Oh, yeah... and, depending on your area, you MAY or MAY NOT have E-911, which means that you might actually reach an actual emergency operator, maybe even on the same continent as you, who might even answer the phone, and possibly even have your address. But we're not saying who to call, or where your number is being routed to, even though you've had your address on file for months. By the way, most localities discourage testing 911 service, so don't you try it!"

OK, just for giggles, I tried it again. Now, when I dial "933", it tells me that "international calling is blocked" on my phone. ????? Yes, I did in fact block international calling, but is 933 now an international call? HUH!?!?!?

Funny stuff! Hi-larious!

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DallasFlier
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

KDWycha wrote:
It still says the same thing it said months ago. That you will need to provide your name and address to the 911 operator. I know E-911 has to be available in Tampa, FL. Not like its a town of 100 people or anything.

Yep, says exactly the same thing here, and Dallas, TX isn't exactly "small" either. I have to say, I believe Vonage has been and continues to be outright deceptive in terms of their proclamations regarding the availability of E911 service. I honestly doubt its available presently to the majority of customers. Although I'm happy with my basic service, I'd actually love to see them get slapped by the FCC regarding the pronouncements about E911.

-Gary-

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holocron
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This whole situation is, IMO, blown out of proportion.

If people want "traditional" 911 as they have been conditioned to expect, then they should keep a POTS line.

If the governement were serious about 911 being available to everyone, then it would be a public service. And with this, would be the ability for anyone to plug in a phone and reach 911--regardless of if phone service is active on the line or not.

If this were the case, Voip providers could easily include a seperate 911 line jack on the adapter. This would be a "land line" that has 911 calling on it, regardless of service or not, as noted above. Dial 911 on the phone connected to the adapter and it connections via the land line to the 911.

Take 911, and the funding for 911, out of the hands of the telecos.

Done.
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KDWycha
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have worked in many call centers that use Voip and there was never an issue when dialing 911 from those centers. I dont get why it is such a problem for Vonage to get this working. Didnt they contract level3 a few months ago to handle their E-911 rollout?

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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

KDWycha wrote:
It still says the same thing it said months ago. That you will need to provide your name and address to the 911 operator. I know E-911 has to be available in Tampa, FL. Not like its a town of 100 people or anything.


No, but it might as well be technology-wise. The fire departments are still using 20-30 year old radios, traffic lights are still using 1960's-era timers rather than adaptive computer-based controllers, and south Tampa is still using the same stormwater drainage system from 1920. Tampa's one of those cities where nothing seems to ever work right or be done properly.

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