phone fun, was GeoIP database issues and the real world consequences

Owen DeLong owen at
Thu Apr 14 21:33:30 UTC 2016

> On Apr 14, 2016, at 13:14 , Larry Sheldon <larrysheldon at> wrote:
> On 4/14/2016 12:09, Owen DeLong wrote:
>>> On Apr 14, 2016, at 05:46 , John Levine <johnl at> wrote:
>>>> If they're land lines, the NPA/NXX will be local to the CO so you won't
>>>> have out-of-area numbers other than a rare corner case of a very
>>>> expensive foreign exchange line. If they're VoIP lines, the address is
>>>> *supposed* to be so registered, but softphones and even VoIP handsets
>>>> tend to move around without the user considering 9-1-1.
>>> VoIP was dragged kicking and screaming into E911, so now they charge
>>> extra and are quite clear about it.  My VoIP provider regularly
>>> reminds me to update my 9-1-1 address, but since I don't have to pay
>>> the 9-1-1 fee if I lie and say I'm outside North America, that's what
>>> I do.  Since I also have a classic CO-powered copper landline (1/4
>>> mile from the CO, no concentrators or repeaters) and a couple of cell
>>> phones, I think we're covered.
>> With my VOIP provider, I didn’t quite have to lie.
>> I generally don’t need my VOIP number when I’m in the US (cell is free here),
>> so I simply told them “I do not intend to use this number or this service
>> within the US”.
>> The first time I sent them a marked-up contract, they contacted me with
>> questions. The following year, the new version of the contract reflected
>> my changes to their original wording.
>> Since then, I’ve been pretty much satisfied with my service from callcentric
>> and the price is right.
> Quick question:  What happens (in the purely hypothetical case, I sincerely hope) if the building is on fire and it turns out that the VOIP-phone is the only one that works?

That would be an interesting phenomenon since my VOIP clients are both dependent on data services working on one of laptop, iPad, iPhone.

> Do you leave it turned off?

Of course not, but since the building in question is very unlikely to have been any address I would have filed on said contract, it’s far better that the person at the other end is having to ask me for the address than to have emergency workers respond to some location that I’m not at.

If, OTOH, the building in question is my home, I’m more likely to get a faster response by banging on a neighbors door than by struggling to get the VOIP phone up and running on some alternative connectivity.


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