Vonage SUED over not clearly informing customers re 911 service lacking

Network.Security Network.Security at target.com
Thu Mar 24 19:02:26 UTC 2005

"Your Call Will Go To A General Access Line at the Public Safety
Point (PSAP). This is different from the 911 Emergency Response Center
traditional 911 calls go."

In talking with my local PSAP about VoIP services and this particular
issue, they (PSAPs collectively) are fairly displeased with Vonage-like
services and how it introduces delay into their process which is all
about time sensitive information.  With the advances in E911, cell phone
location services, etc. which all increased the speed of identifying
caller location and identity, residential VoIP services have set things
back a fair amount.

The "General Access" line that Vonage's text mentions means different
things to different PSAPs and some (mine anyway) prioritize calls coming
in on this line to the lowest queue and with some areas it may not even
be answered outside of core operating hours or during high-call periods.

I'm not saying (nor do I hope the PSAPs are either) that Vonage should
cease and desist service because of the 911 issues, rather greater
partnership needs to be initiated to insure that VoIP service and POTS
have the same priority for 911 and that all possible information is
transmitted in a timely manner for 911 dispatchers to get the right
services to you as fast as possible.

I read on a Vonage customer forum about "testing" your 911 service with
them, I don't know that I'd advocate that as the PSAPs will likely be
ticked.  But again, it emphasizes a point about collaboration between
Vonage and the areas it supports to insure customer safety.

If you are a Vonage customer, I'd urge you to verify your 911 info with
them.  Sure you'll hopefully never need the service, but if your house
is on fire or your child is choking or whatever the unfortunate event
is, will you really be able to give them your full address and call-back
number in a time of crisis?  I hope so...

Sorry about the soapbox, I have strong feelings on this one...

- Scott
Scott.altman at target.com
Paid-on-call firefighter and network guy

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