1. #1
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    Question Emergency Networks Warn Consumers About Internet Phones

    Has anyone here ever had any problems or experience with this yet?


    Emergency Networks Warn Consumers About Internet Phones

    PAM EASTON
    Associated Press Writer

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Joyce John was upstairs at home after school one day when suddenly she heard gunshots and her parents screaming. Her mother, faced with two armed robbers, yelled for the 17-year-old to dial 911.

    When she did, the teenager heard this message: ``Stop. You must dial 911 from another telephone. 911 is not available from this telephone line. No emergency personnel will be dispatched.''

    John's parents were both bleeding from gunshot wounds by the time she realized the Internet phone service her family used did not offer 911 service. It took a frantic 10 minutes after the robbers fled the home for her to reach another phone _ at a neighbor's house.

    The Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network and other emergency networks across the nation want Federal Communication Commission regulation and changes to the Telecommunications Act that would require so-called Voice over the Internet Protocol providers to offer enhanced 911 to all users.

    The FCC announced late last month that it would develop rules for VoIP. FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the FCC would make sure that public safety is protected, either by the industry as it develops the new technology or by the FCC.

    Unlike traditional phone technology, VoIP converts the sound of a voice into small packets of data _ about 50 packets for every second of conversation _ scatters them across the Internet, and then reassembles them into sound on the other end of a call.

    The VoIP service providers often can offer unlimited local and long-distance phone service to customers for less money than traditional telephone companies.

    But emergency networks want consumers to be aware of the VoIP's limits. The services may prevent them from dialing 911 or transfer them to an administrative police line, which provides no information on the person's location or a callback number.

    ``If they are unconscious, or they are too hysterical to give location information, all we are going to have is an open line with someone screaming on the other end,'' said John Melcher, executive director of the Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network. ``The onset of an emergency, especially a life-threatening emergency, is not a good time to find out whether or not your service provider gives you access to 911.''

    Fort Worth officials have launched a similar campaign to educate consumers.

    Brooke Schulz, spokesman for VoIP provider Vonage Holdings Corp., said the company has been working to provide enhanced 911 to its 500,000 customers for the past two years. So far, the company has only been successful in providing enhanced 911 service in Rhode Island because of hurdles it has run into with getting access to 911 through traditional phone companies.

    Vonage provides traditional 911 service to customers who must provide an address of where the VoIP phone will be kept and must activate the service.

    ``We all want to get to the same place,'' Schulz said. ``There just seems to be some disconnect as to how we get there and how we get there quickly.''

    Melcher says it is important that VoIP providers offer enhanced 911 because the service routes calls to the proper agency, makes the call a priority and provides location and callback details.

    Peter John said his daughter was hysterical after the robbery and didn't see a nearby cell phone.

    ``Not only was medical response delayed because Joyce had to run to a neighbor's phone to place a call that got service, but the assailants are still on the loose today,'' Melcher said of the Feb. 2 robbery. ``Had Joyce's call gotten through to 911 at that crucial moment, who is to say that those assailants would not have been captured.''

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    It's spelled out very clear in all the advertising in my neck of the woods that cable modem phones/internet phones shouldn't be used to dial 911.

    Of course, people only see the cheap flat rate phone bill when they read the ad.

    It should be regulated by the FCC... should've been from the very beginning.

    I don't see why anyone would get this... it doesn't work when the power/cable is out, you can't dial 911, and it slows down the network for the data users!
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    Arrow GOOD THREAD !

    I had no idea ........and know I know why the service is so cheap !
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    Arrow here's another article

    New technology brings back old problem for 911

    By SCOTT BRAND/The Evening News

    Story created Mar 31, 2005 - 11:38:08 EST.



    EASTERN UPPER PENINSULA - New technology threatens to bring old problems back to local residents as Voice Over Internet Phone service (VOIP) may be unable to connect residents with their local central dispatch systems in times of emergency.

    "What we want to make people aware of is they are not able to access 911 like you can on a traditional phone," said Mackinac County 911 Coordinator Pam Matelski. "The dispatch center will not get your information."

    According to estimates provided to Matelski, there are currently about 500,000 people nationwide who are utilizing the VOIP. The new technology essentially allows users to pay one flat rate for Internet and telephone service. Under this plan, someone could call overseas every day without running up a long-distance phone bill since the connection would be made through the Internet. Matelski said it is anticipated this technology will become increasingly popular with projections calling for over 3 million customers by 2008.

    "We are not commenting whether or not they should get it," said Matelski of the new service. "We are just notifying them that they will not be able to get 911."

    Governor Jennifer Granholm issued a consumer alert last week through the Emergency Telephone Service Committee, cautioning Michigan residents about this new technology and the potential pitfalls associated with the loss of 911 service.


    In part, the Granholm release read: "If the sales person, brochure, or Web site offering the Internet-based telephone service does not mention 9-1-1, it is very likely that 9-1-1 service is NOT being provided at all."

    In Chippewa County, callers should not have difficulty reaching 911 while utilizing the new system.

    "It's an issue and we are on top of it," said Chippewa County Central Dispatch Director Tim McKee. "We have done what we need to do to insure VOIP calls are directed to the appropriate administrative line."

    Unlike Luce and Mackinac counties, which go through the Regional 911 Dispatch Center in Negaunee, Chippewa County has the advantage of housing its emergency and administrative offices inside the same building. As a result, 911 calls over the VOIP boxes can be directed to the county's administrative line and, from there, quickly channeled on to the dispatchers in the next room.

    McKee did add that one drawback to this system is the portability of the VOIP system. For example, if a person was visiting a downstate residence and hooked up the VOIP box at that location, the 911 dispatchers in that county might never get the call since it would be directed back to Chippewa County.



    To date, Vonage is the only company that appears to be offering this new phone service in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

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    VONAGE DOES NOT DIAL 911!!!

    When you dial 9-1-1 on a Vonage phone, it will connect you to the PSAP's non-emergency number. No ANI/ALI. No nothing.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    While it is not yet available in my area, Armstrong Utilities is phasing in their VOIP service. They have a supplmental 9-1-1 system that apparently routes the call through the Armstrong call center, and then back to your local PSAP. It is explained in their webpage:



    911 Dialing
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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    A big problem with their implementation of a "fix":

    "Remember that unlike traditional phone lines, Armstrong ZOOM Phone service is portable to any location with broadband Internet access. For example, you can have a New York number and receive calls in New York. You can also take your equipment with you on a trip but, when you travel, 911 Dialing will automatically route your call to the local emergency personnel location for the address on file, not your temporary location."

    Customers also have to be proactive and enable the feature, as well as provide the company with their location.

    At least their attempting to address the issue, which is more than I can say of many companies.
    Last edited by Resq14; 04-18-2005 at 04:19 PM.
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    Default from the FH news area

    Mother Blames Baby's Death On Failed 911 Service
    Woman Got Non-Emergency Police Number When She Dialed 911

    POSTED: 7:15 p.m. EDT May 6, 2005
    UPDATED: 6:25 p.m. EDT May 7, 2005


    Story by WESH.com

    DELTONA, Fla. -- A mother is outraged that when she tried to call 911 she could not get someone to help her.



    It's not that an emergency operator wasn't available, but the fact that she was making the call from an Internet phone. The phone company told WESH 2 News that it is working on the problem.

    With the high cost of traditional phone service, many people are turning to lower-cost Internet phone service, but one local mom said she believes a cheaper phone service cost her her baby's life.

    Cheryl Waller is frustrated but relieved that the Federal Communication Commission could soon force all Internet-based phone companies to provide enhanced 911 service.

    "It's too late. The FCC has known about this for a long time," Waller said.

    Waller's 3 ½-month-old daughter Julia stopped breathing in their Deltona home in March. But when Waller called 911 through Vonage, her broadband phone service provider, all she got was a non-emergency sheriff's recording. She ran to a neighbor's house and finally got through to a 911 dispatcher. But it was too late for Julia.

    "I think we lost our daughter because there was no one on the other end and I think Vonage is at fault," Waller said.

    Vonage provides service for more than 500,000 customers. The company is facing lawsuits in several states stemming from complaints that 911 service failed. Waller has launched a Web site, www.911petition.com, to fight for better regulation for companies that advertise 911 service.

    A spokeswoman for Vonage said her heart goes out to the family. She said the basic 911 service does work, but admits it needs work.

    "We do expect to have a solution in place that allows people to call 911 and get their phone number and their location displayed on the dispatcher's screen before the end of the year," said Brooke Schulz.

    But it may not be soon enough for the FCC. It's pushing for mandatory enhanced 911 service for all Web-based phone service providers as early as late September.

    Although it's a step in the right direction, Waller said it's too little, too late for her family.

    "This is Julia's voice. She's screaming out, 'We're going to change this and we're going to change it now,'" Waller said.

    If you're shopping around for Internet-based phone services, make sure you ask if they provide enhanced 911 system, and make sure it works.

    The FCC is expected to vote on the issue on May 19.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    Default Re: from the FH news area

    Originally posted by Weruj1
    Mother Blames Baby's Death On Failed 911 Service
    Woman Got Non-Emergency Police Number When She Dialed 911


    "I think we lost our daughter because there was no one on the other end and I think Vonage is at fault," Waller said.
    Yea, it's all Vonage's fault that this ignorant moron didn't read the huge big bold bright red print that stated all of what she is claiming no knowlege of. It's a terrible tragedy, however it is certainly not Vonage's fault.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Lightbulb

    I manage the I.T. department for a large manufacturing plant here in Indiana. We are just looking at taking our entire system over to VoIP in the next couple of years. Talked to Cisco yesterday and they have there own call manager that can be set up to call the local 9-1-1 normally. We have locations in Detroit, MI, two in Indiana and two in Kentucky. The technician said they were forced to do this by the FCC. Technology is a great thing in proper doses and in proper application. The VoIP companies should never have released systems that would put lives in danger this way.
    We allow these companies to do this, but have to put a warning on blow dryers that tell people not to dry there hair in the shower or bathtub. Whats wrong with this picture?

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    Someone is feeding you a bunch of BS VOIP will not be able to tell 911 where a call is coming from. They can tie you into 911 but that will be an extra fee. PC MAG had a great article about this some time ago. VOIP will eeventually be controlled by the Telcos and forced out of business or rtaes will go sky high. You might as well send a Smoke Signal if you need 911. At least a Fire Truck will show up by following the smoke.

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    Originally posted by bigbear639
    Someone is feeding you a bunch of BS VOIP will not be able to tell 911 where a call is coming from. They can tie you into 911 but that will be an extra fee. PC MAG had a great article about this some time ago. VOIP will eeventually be controlled by the Telcos and forced out of business or rtaes will go sky high. You might as well send a Smoke Signal if you need 911. At least a Fire Truck will show up by following the smoke.
    It isn't BS. You can have a VoIP PBX system just like you can have an analog or digital PBX system. It makes no difference to the trunks coming into the facility and connecting to it, whether they be conventional or over something like a T-1. I don't think you know enough about it to claim it is BS, because it is not. This isn't a glorified vonage line we're talking about here.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default wasnt the one I was lookin for .......but it'll do.....

    http://www.telecomweb.com/news/1115320575.htm

    FCC Chair Said Ready To Mandate VoIP E911

    Reports rapidly spreading out of Washington, D.C., suggest the FCC’s new chairman, Kevin Martin, is quietly circulating a plan to require voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers to implement 911 service – or shut down their operations. It’s rumored that Martin’s proposal could show up on the FCC agenda as soon as the commission’s next meeting, set for May 19. It would give VoIP companies 120 days to implement 911 – which means September if the proposal were immediately passed.

    The Martin proposal, which as of press time had not been officially released by the FCC, appears to be highly similar to last month’s ruling by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which gave VoIP companies in that country 90 days to implement 911 services (Telecom Web, April 7). The reports also come just a day after Vonage disclosed signing a far-reaching deal with Verizon under which Vonage customers will receive E911 service, and against the backdrop of legal action against Vonage in both Texas and Connecticut for not providing adequate warning about Vonage’s current lack of E911 services in those states.

    It was not immediately clear just how Martin proposes to force E911 operators – which in almost all states are ILECs – to cooperate with the VoIP startups that are threatening their businesses. In the case of the Vonage-Verizon deal, Vonage is paying Verizon what it calls “market” rates for the service. A FCC mandate that ILECs open up their E911 centers to VoIP carriers might, thus, result in a nasty can of worms when it comes to figuring out charges. On the other hand, operating E911 is said to be a money-losing proposition for most ILECs. Selling the service to VoIP carriers at market rates could turn E911 into a profit center.

    There was a story about this in yesterdays paper but I could not find it ......
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    companys offering phone service without being 911 capable need to be how can i say it, put out of business. company officiers held criminal and civil liable.

    it is done to pd, ems, fd all the time for circumstances within and beyond their control.

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    There is nothing wrong with offering a service without 911... as long as you make it crystal clear to the consumer what they are really getting and what they are not getting. This crap that Vonage and Comcast pull is ludicrous. They make it sound like you're getting real 9-1-1. After all, you can dial 9-1-1 and the call will go somewhere. What they don't tell you is that when you dial 911, you aren't getting 911. It is misleading and deceptive advertising at best. Criminal at worst I suppose if someone wants to pursue it that far. Either way, it stinks.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default Voip & 911

    Recent comments regarding 911 & VOIP is interesting. Down under in Australia we use triple "000" as our emergency telephone code. All states have receiving centres. If a centre is overloaded through a major disaster then calls are automatically rerouted to another states call centre. Operators when answering a cell phone (and I would assume VOIP) always ask for the state first up as part of the address followed by police, fire or ambulance? The fun starts when you want all 3. Must test VOIP at some stage to see what happens in Australia?
    When cell phones were first introduced I am sure we went through the same sort of problems. This could be more interesting in Europe where countries are alot smaller and closer together and the VOIP provider may service more than one country.
    The VOIP providers will not only need to change their systems but the 911 despatch services will need to start thinking of an integrated National system to receive and route calls.
    Last edited by wombat; 08-28-2006 at 12:50 AM.
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    Default We have gotten a few....

    Originaly 8 months ago we would get no ANI/ALI. Which is not that unusual as some cell phone providers do not give us a call back number on the ANI/ALI. Most cells give us a call back number and GPS location but even that is not always accurate.

    As of late we see the VoIP calls giving us a ANI/ALI and notating its a VoIP call. But if we dont get a ANI/ALI its not always the end of the world.

    If your using VoIP and you call 911 and that 911 operator gets a ANI/ALI failure, you better hope you have a good 911 operator that can take control of the call and get an address out of the caller if they are hesterical.

    My understanding is that all VoIP compnies have to offer some sort of enhanced 911 capability now.
    Warm Regards,
    Shawn Stoner
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    Default

    Internet Phone Firms Misdirecting 911 Calls

    Updated: 08-23-2006 12:47:16 PM

    MAGGI MARTIN and LEILA ATASSI
    Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

    A Perry Township woman who called 9-1-1 about her sick child recently did not reach her local fire dispatcher.

    Rather, a Colorado answering service picked up the line.

    The woman gets her phone service through an Internet phone company, using Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. She does not have a traditional telephone line. She hung up on the Colorado center and tried dialing through her Internet company again, but she ultimately gave up and drove her child to the hospital.

    Fire and police chiefs from across Northeast Ohio fear such scary anecdotes could become common unless state legislators regulate Internet phone companies, Concord Township Fire Chief Mike Warner said Monday.

    "Millions of American households are in danger of calling 9-1-1 and not receiving the emergency response they need," said Warner, legislative director of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association. "When people need help, they cannot afford any delay caused by a lack of access to local operators."

    According to Infonetics Research, a national market research firm, VoIP users doubled worldwide between 2005 and 2006, with 12 million subscribers in North America, a 184 percent increase in one year.

    With VoIP, voices are converted into packets of information that move through cyberspace along with the rest of the data on the Internet instead of over copper phone wires used with traditional phones.

    People who dial 9-1-1 on traditional phone lines reach emergency dispatchers. And dispatchers can see, immediately, the addresses where 9-1-1 calls originate.

    Safety officials want legislators to require Internet phone companies to immediately transfer 9-1-1 calls to emergency dispatchers in the callers' hometowns. Some companies do that, but others transfer the calls to national calling centers that are ill-equipped to handle them, as happened with the Perry woman. Others transfer calls to non-emergency lines in the callers' towns, lines that are not staffed after 5 p.m.

    And some VoIP calls get routed to the wrong places.

    The Concord Township fire station received a misdirected Internet call from a resident in another Concord Township, in Delaware County near Columbus, the chief said.

    Warner held a news conference Monday on behalf of fire chiefs across the state to spread the word about the danger.

    "County and fire officials spent more than 20 years upgrading emergency services so that we now have Enhanced 9-1-1 systems and can even trace cellular calls with new geo-tracking systems," Warner said.

    A 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Lorain County Dispatch Center, which serves the entire county, said calls placed from VoIP systems get routed to the center's non-emergency line. Every day, people who use VoIP call 9-1-1 to test it. They're usually surprised and unhappy when they learn that their calls are not answered on the 9-1-1 emergency line and that their locations and phone numbers do not automatically appear on the dispatch center's computer screens.

    He said dispatchers have never had trouble getting help to those who need it, even if they're using VoIP. But VoIP callers have to tell dispatchers where they are.

    In Shaker Heights, Police Commander Mike Schwarber said VoIP does not appear to be very prevalent in this area, but he worries about it spreading.

    Orange Police Chief Christopher Kostura, area chairman for the Ohio Police Chiefs Association, said he was not aware of any serious problems yet but echoed Warner's fears.

    "Any delay in 9-1-1 capabilities could cost lives," Warner said.

    To reach these Plain Dealer reporters: , 440-602-4782

    , 216-999-4549


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