911 spreads over IP

Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition

Sixty percent of broadband voice-over-IP service providers offer Enhanced 911 service, which means if a customer dials 911 then the call will get routed automatically to a designated emergency call center. The dispatcher can access an automatic call back number and location information for fixed users, according to the Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition survey.

The survey indicated that 100 percent of the voice-over-IP companies will adopt more advanced E911 solutions within a year after standards and solutions are developed. According to the survey of 14 leading voice-over-IP providers, more than a thousand 911 calls have been successfully delivered to emergency personnel since Dec. 1, 2003.

Of the providers, 75 percent already collect and remit state and local 911 fees for voice-over-IP customers, while the remaining 25 percent indicated they would do so in the future, the survey reported.

Members of the VON Coalition and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), which supports providing E911 services throughout the nation, signed last year a voluntary agreement to develop technical and operational methods for providing 911 services by users of voice over IP. Many of the providers surveyed also signed the agreement.

Recently, NENA started a E911 campaign to address technical, operational and policy issues associated with modernizing the E911 system through integration of next generation technologies, such as voice over IP, instant messaging, short message service messaging, Wi-Fi, geographic information systems and video.

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