When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?

Discussion in 'VOIP' started by MrPepper11, May 12, 2005.

  1. MrPepper11

    MrPepper11 Guest

    May 12, 2005
    Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
    As More People Go Wireless, Patchwork of Call Centers Slows Locater
    System
    Upgrade Money Spent on Boots
    By ANNE MARIE SQUEO
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    In November 1993, Jennifer Koon, under attack by a vicious assailant,
    dialed 911 from her cellphone. But the dispatcher in upstate New York
    could only listen helplessly for 20 minutes as the 18-year-old, unable
    to give her exact location, was beaten, driven to an alley and shot to
    death. The technology wasn't available to find her.

    Almost 12 years later, more than half of the U.S. still lacks the
    technology to find cellphone callers in distress. Though the federal
    government is spending billions of dollars annually on homeland
    security, the 911 system that Americans rely on to report an emergency
    hasn't benefited.

    With the explosive growth of wireless technology, more than a third of
    the 190 million calls placed to 911 each year now come from cellphones.
    Even as some of the nation's biggest cellular carriers face a December
    deadline to upgrade their systems for 911 calls, many emergency-call
    centers won't be able to receive the data. Virtually all of the
    nation's 6,000 call centers can locate land-line phones, but only 41%
    of them can locate cellphones, public-safety officials say. And the
    situation is getting worse with the growing popularity of
    Internet-based phone services -- some of which can't access traditional
    911 service.

    No federal agency has the authority to drive the local, state and
    federal governments, as well as dozens of wireless and local-phone
    companies, toward a solution. The cellular industry initially reacted
    slowly because of costs and liability concerns. Public-safety officials
    estimate it would take $8 billion and at least four more years to
    modernize the nation's 911 system for wireless calls. And that doesn't
    include the costs of updating the system to handle Internet phone
    services.

    Meanwhile, cash-strapped states have diverted funds earmarked for 911
    to balance budgets and pay for unrelated items, including winter boots
    and dry cleaning for the New York State Police. While Congress passed a
    law last year to pay for some upgrades and stop the state raids on 911
    money, President Bush, facing his own budget problems, has declined to
    fund that initiative.

    "These are front-burner challenges getting back-burner treatment," says
    Michael Copps, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission.
    "The government itself is still working on developing a nationwide
    plan. It just does not exist yet."

    According to the latest information compiled by the National Emergency
    Number Association, a nonprofit corporation focused on public-safety
    communications issues, only six states, plus the District of Columbia,
    have the technology in place to find 911 wireless callers from most
    places in the state. Three more are close to completion. Sixteen
    states, including New Jersey, Arizona and Ohio, have upgraded less than
    10% of their counties, NENA says. Six of those states haven't finished
    a single county.

    Even within many states, coverage is uneven, with some counties and
    cities receiving upgrades while neighboring ones haven't. A modernized
    call center in the South Side of Chicago, for example, often helps
    locate cellphone callers in nearby cities where emergency operators
    lack the technology to do it themselves.

    Big Shift

    Part of the 911 problem is the result of a vast shift among consumers
    away from traditional fixed-line phones toward new technologies. Older
    phones are easy to find because they are plugged into the wall at a
    specific address and aren't moveable. When a 911 call is made from that
    number, the location automatically pops up on the computer screen in
    front of the call-center operator who answers.

    But consumers increasingly favor cellular and Internet services because
    they offer cheaper rates and greater mobility -- the very thing that
    makes callers difficult to find. About 6% of the nation's 182 million
    cellphone users have gotten rid of their home phones, according to
    industry analysts, who say the percentage will continue to rise.

    Technology offers two ways to pinpoint wireless callers. Global
    Positioning System satellites can be used to find the caller if
    cellphones are equipped with a special chip, and the local 911 center
    has been upgraded to receive specific latitude and longitude data.
    That's the system being used by Verizon Wireless, Nextel Communications
    Inc. and Sprint Corp. Two other major cellular companies, Cingular
    Wireless and T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telecom AG, are using
    triangulation -- measuring the distance of a signal from three
    different cellphone towers -- to locate 911 callers.

    But these technologies face challenges. Cellular providers using GPS
    have to get their customers to buy a new phone equipped with a special
    computer chip for their location system to work. In March, a man died
    in a Long Island snowstorm after calling 911 from an older cellphone
    that couldn't transmit his coordinates, even though the local call
    center had satellite-locator technology. Triangulation has proved
    problematic in rural areas, where towers, if there are any, are often
    built in straight lines along highways. That makes it difficult to get
    three separate measures to locate a 911 caller.

    The FCC has set a year-end deadline for Verizon, Nextel and Sprint to
    upgrade nearly all their customers to GPS-enabled phones. But even if
    the companies persuade people with older phones to upgrade, no similar
    deadline has been set for local and state governments to get their
    equipment in place to handle such calls. And no federal agency has the
    jurisdiction to set one.

    Internet-phone services offer an entirely different host of problems.
    These services allow consumers in, say, Boise, Idaho, to get a phone
    number with a Boston area code, which raises questions about where a
    911 call would be routed. Public-safety officials say new technology is
    needed to locate the call center nearest the Internet modem making the
    call, regardless of the phone number.

    Some Internet phone services don't let users connect to 911 or they
    route callers to nonemergency numbers. Earlier this year, a family in
    Houston with Internet phone service couldn't alert police that two
    armed robbers had forced their way into the family's home and shot both
    parents in the legs. When their daughter called 911, she could only get
    a recorded message to hang up and try a different phone.

    Later this month, the FCC is expected to require Vonage Holdings Corp.,
    the nation's biggest Internet phone provider, and others to provide a
    direct connection to the 911 network, according to commission
    officials.

    To provide a similar level of 911 service as traditional phones, new
    Internet protocols need to be written to allow the transmission of
    location data in addition to the voice call. New switching equipment
    and routers are also needed. The cost would be far less than the
    wireless 911 upgrade. Several companies are offering middleman
    solutions to allow Internet phone companies to connect to 911 networks,
    and Verizon and SBC have said they'll begin offering some direct
    connections to the 911 networks they run to companies like Vonage.

    The difficulties involved in upgrading the system can partly be traced
    to 911's origin in the late 1960s, when AT&T still ran most of the
    country's phone service. In 1968, the company decided to make 911 a
    nationwide emergency number. At that time, Los Angeles County had 50
    different phone numbers to reach the police; St. Louis had 32 for
    police and 57 for fire emergencies, according to the FCC.

    Because rescue services fell under local, not federal, oversight,
    officials in Washington left it to the cities to set up operator
    centers to receive calls to the new number. It took until the late
    1990s before 96% of the U.S. had 911 service, but some 200 counties
    still don't. Calls to 911 are routed to the nearest emergency call
    center. Wireless 911 calls generally get routed based on their location
    when the call is made.

    Crowded Scene

    The breakup of Ma Bell made the picture even more complicated by
    spawning dozens of cellular and local-phone companies, all with a role
    to play in updating the 911 system. In 1996, the FCC called for
    upgrading the nation's entire system within five years to make it able
    to pinpoint cellphone callers to within about a 400-foot radius. But
    regulators didn't tell individual cellular companies and local
    officials how to accomplish this task, or pay for it. As a result, the
    deadline wasn't met.

    "The wireless carriers were saying, 'We can't do this, our industry is
    in its infancy and these costs will stifle growth,' " said Anthony
    Haynes, executive director of the Tennessee Emergency Communications
    Board. Carriers also worried about liability issues if a 911 call was
    lost. Congress indemnified them against this in 1999.

    Local-phone companies have presented obstacles, too. Excluded from FCC
    talks outlining the upgrades, some wanted to dictate the technology
    used in the upgrades to make it compatible with the older systems they
    already operated for wired phones. Others tried to profit from their
    role as middlemen between the wireless providers and call centers.

    In the greater Kansas City, Mo., area, for example, obtaining wireless
    911 service from SBC Communications Inc., which provided regular 911
    connections, would have cost an additional $2.5 million a year, says
    Greg Ballentine, the director of public safety there and president of
    the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials. So officials
    opted to buy and manage their own system. An SBC spokesman said the
    company never made an official proposal for such service.

    Even when money has been earmarked for modernizing 911, it often has
    been used for other purposes. This has been true of funds generated by
    special fees for upgrading 911 that dozens of states have tacked onto
    consumers' monthly phone bills.

    New York has diverted more of these funds than any other state. It has
    assessed a fee on monthly phone bills for 911 upgrades since 1991,
    longer than most states, and has the biggest charge, up to $1.50. But
    in a March 2002 report, the state comptroller found that the New York
    State Police in 2001 spent money intended for 911 upgrades on items
    such as $4.66 million for vehicle leases and purchases, $1.2 million
    for maintenance of radio systems, $19,187 for winter boots and more
    than $500 for dry cleaning. State officials said all of the expenses
    were related to the state police's "public-safety mission," according
    to a response to the report.

    During a training exercise in 2003, Rochester public-safety officials
    determined police and fire units had responded ably to a simulated gas
    attack by terrorists at a park concert. According to the drill's
    script, the attack had been reported to authorities by a citizen with a
    cellphone.

    "What if the person calling was overcome by gas before he could tell
    them where he is?" asked David Koon, a New York state lawmaker, when
    briefed on the drill. Mr. Koon, the father of Jennifer, ran for office
    as an advocate of 911 reform after his daughter's death. (Her killer
    was eventually caught and sentenced to 37½ years to life in prison.)
    City officials conceded the call center wouldn't have been able to
    locate the caller because it lacked the proper technology. Rochester
    has since upgraded its 911 system.

    New York City's 911 problems came under scrutiny in January 2003, when
    four boys drowned after calling 911 from a sinking rowboat. Rescuers
    didn't start looking until 14 hours later because they couldn't
    pinpoint the location of the late-night call. New York City upgraded
    its 911 system to receive wireless location information last August.

    After nearly two years of wrangling, Congress in December 2004 approved
    the creation of a national oversight office to spearhead 911 upgrades
    and $250 million a year in federal grants to reward states that don't
    divert 911 funds to other purposes. At a conference in early March,
    officials from the Transportation and Commerce departments, which would
    have jointly run the new central office, said federal belt-tightening
    made it unlikely that the new funds or new office would materialize
    anytime soon.

    "We're stuck with what we've got," William Belote, chief of the
    Commerce Department's Emergency Planning and Public Safety Division,
    told the conference, noting there was only so much he could do with his
    current five-person staff. The budget deficit, he said, makes it "very,
    very challenging to get any additional money for the federal grant
    program."

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    May 12, 2005
    Internet Calling's Downside: Failing to Link Callers to 911
    Low-Cost Services Gain Popularity, But Regulators Have Concerns;
    Routed to Recorded Message
    By SHAWN YOUNG
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    When Cheryl Waller's seemingly healthy 3½-month-old daughter, Julia,
    suddenly stopped breathing in March, she immediately grabbed the phone
    and dialed 911. She repeatedly got a recording that began by saying,
    "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911."

    In a panic, Ms. Waller raced to a neighbor who called 911. But Julia
    was dead by the time help arrived.

    Ms. Waller, who lives in Deltona, Fla., with her husband and four other
    children, didn't get through to 911 because she was receiving her phone
    service from Vonage Holdings Corp., an Internet-based phone company
    that doesn't connect to 911 the way that most people have come to
    expect. "I think we lost our daughter because of this," says Ms.
    Waller, who says doctors attributed her daughter's death to sudden
    infant death syndrome.

    A Vonage spokeswoman says: "Our hearts go out to the Waller family. We
    are going to do everything possible to prevent this from happening
    again."

    Long a security blanket for callers, connecting with 911 service has
    become an issue with the advent of new technologies. Emergency
    operators, for example, don't always automatically know where a person
    is calling from when he or she dials 911 on a cellphone. But the 911
    problem is particularly acute with some Internet-based phone service.

    Not only is it often difficult for operators to pinpoint where someone
    is calling from, but in some cases they never even reach a real 911
    operator. That is because calls from some Internet-based phone services
    are relegated to what is essentially a second-class status compared
    with normal 911.

    Calls from these services sometimes ring at general or administrative
    numbers at emergency-call centers instead of connecting directly to 911
    operators. In some places, those general numbers aren't staffed after
    normal business hours. Even when the calls are answered, the person on
    the other end may not be a trained emergency operator and can't see the
    caller's address automatically.

    Ms. Waller wound up at one of those non-emergency phone numbers.

    Regulators are growing increasingly concerned about the 911 problem.
    Attorneys general in Texas and Connecticut, where consumers also were
    unable to reach 911 in life-threatening emergencies, are now suing
    Vonage for deceptive advertising. They charge that Vonage -- the
    nation's largest Internet calling company with more than 650,000
    customers -- doesn't properly alert customers to the shortcomings of
    its 911 service.

    The problem is also on the Federal Communications Commission's radar
    screen. As early as next week, the FCC could announce that it will
    require Internet-based phone companies like AT&T Corp'.s CallVantage
    and Verizon Communications Inc.'s Voicewing to offer full 911 service.
    The logistics of doing that are more complicated for some carriers than
    others. AT&T, for instance, also offers conventional service and can
    take advantage of its existing facilities in some areas. For all the
    affected companies, the process could take time and money.

    Lured by prices as low as $14.99 a month for 500 minutes of local and
    long-distance calling, more than a million people have replaced their
    conventional phones with Internet-based service -- and millions more
    are expected to follow in coming years, analysts say. But as Internet
    calling takes off, many consumers aren't fully aware of the 911 problem
    -- and don't know that among the various Internet-calling services,
    there are some big differences. For example, cable companies, some of
    which also offer Internet-based calling, don't have the same problems
    with 911. That is because the customer's phone number is linked to an
    actual address. (As with all Internet-based calling, however, the
    service won't work if the power goes out or if the user's Internet
    connection is down.)

    Permanent solutions to the problem are complicated for technological
    and regulatory reasons. Vonage says part of the problem with connecting
    its service to 911 is that in many areas the regional Bell companies
    control the systems that connect calls to 911, and the Bells have been
    reluctant to grant Vonage access to the system. For their part, the
    Bells have expressed concerns about keeping the 911 system safe from
    hackers. Some industry observers say the disputes largely reflect
    differences over the terms of connecting.

    Because of recent problems, Vonage is spending millions of dollars to
    set up a program, similar to the OnStar system available on General
    Motors Corp. vehicles, that would offer emergency callers a live
    response. Callers who aren't connected properly with 911 would reach a
    rep who would take information and immediately summon help.

    "No failure of 911 is ever acceptable," says Jeffrey Citron, Chairman
    and CEO of Vonage. He says the company has handled more than 100,000
    emergency calls without incident, but "we have a handful of situations
    where things didn't go as expected."

    Unlike traditional phones, where a wire is plugged into the wall at a
    specific address, calls routed over the Internet aren't fixed to a
    location. To further complicate matters, some Internet phone providers
    let customers choose any area code, and take their numbers with them if
    they move or travel. As a result, someone with a Chicago area code, for
    example, could actually be calling 911 from Los Angeles.

    To get 911 service from some Internet-calling services, customers have
    to register their address, on top of the normal signup process. But
    even some customers who take that extra step -- as Ms. Waller did --
    are surprised to find that their emergency calls are relegated to
    second-class status.

    Like Ms. Waller, Andrea McClanaghan, of Torrington, Conn., also a
    Vonage customer, got a recording when her nine-month-old son, Owen, who
    had been ill with a stomach virus, had a seizure.

    "He stopped breathing and we couldn't get help for him," says Ms.
    McClanaghan, whose son has recovered. "I was hysterical."

    They didn't realize that even though they had registered for 911, their
    calls to 911 centers could still go unanswered by a human.

    New York City has objected strenuously to the practice of sending calls
    to general administrative numbers instead of a 911 operator. In a
    letter to the FCC last month, city officials said the local 911 system
    handles about 30,000 calls a day.

    The letter, from the head of the city's department of information
    technology and telecommunications, said Vonage and several other
    Internet-based companies are, without permission, sending emergency
    calls to "a single phone sitting on an administrative desk. The only
    relationship of this phone to the city's 911 system is that the desk
    happens to be located in the same building where the city's main 911
    call center is also located. This phone isn't equipped to serve an
    emergency response or public safety function."

    Vonage spokeswoman Brooke Schultz said the company has asked repeatedly
    for an alternative but got nowhere until recently.

    Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says his office has
    gotten 10 to 20 complaints about emergency calls with Internet phone
    services. Vonage, he says, buries details about 911 deep down in a very
    long "user agreement" that few people take the time to read. "The
    disclosures are incomplete and incomprehensible," says Mr. Blumenthal.

    Vonage says it is addressing those concerns. "We think our disclosures
    are good," says Ms. Schultz, "but we're willing to work with the
    attorneys general."

    Ms. McClanaghan and Ms. Waller say Vonage customer-service reps were
    dismissive when they called to ask why they hadn't been able to reach
    911.

    In a letter to Florida's Attorney General, Ms. Waller said the Vonage
    customer-service representative laughed when she told her that Julia
    had died. "She laughed and stated that they were unable to revive a
    baby," Ms. Waller says it took the company 11 days to get back to her.
    Ms. McClanaghan said it took at least four for her to hear back.

    "We've taken corrective action," said Mr. Citron, Vonage's CEO. He said
    the company has established a special team to handle customer service
    calls related to 911. She said customer-service representatives were
    struggling in an unfamiliar situation.

    Vonage and other Internet-based carriers say they are working on
    solutions that give customers full emergency service. AT&T says it
    plans to have full 911 service for about 70% of its Internet calling
    customers by the end of the year.

    911 HITCHES

    Problems that can occur with some Internet-calling services:

    Customers forget to register their addresses -- or don't update them
    when they move

    Customers call 911 but get routed to numbers that may not be answered
    by live operators, particularly after hours.

    WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR 911 CALL

    A look at how the system works using various phone options

    TYPE / DESCRIPTION / COMMENT

    Traditional Phone / Phone line is linked to a fixed location and call
    is connected directly to live emergency operators who automatically see
    the caller 's location on a computer screen. / Extremely reliable

    Cellphone / Calls to 911 are traced by satellites or other technology.
    / Problems can arise from dropped calls, imprecise location information
    and antiquated 911 answering centers.

    Internet Calling From Cable Companies / Generally works the same way as
    traditional service because the number is linked to a fixed address and
    agreements are in place for connecting directly to the 911 system. /
    Extremely reliable

    Calling From Internet-based Carriers / Caller registers an address
    (usually their home address), and a database routes the call to the
    emergency center nearest the address. / Even some callers who register
    their addresses can have calls sent to non-emergency numbers at 911
    centers.
     
    MrPepper11, May 12, 2005
    #1
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  2. MrPepper11

    Rick Merrill Guest

    In many locations the ATT CallVantage service works exactly like
    E911 (Enhanced 911) because the phone exchange is limited to a
    single PSAP (i.e. the local emergency response system).
     
    Rick Merrill, May 12, 2005
    #2
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  3. MrPepper11

    John Guest

    Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?
     
    John, May 16, 2005
    #3
  4. MrPepper11

    Rick Merrill Guest

    John wrote:
    > Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?
    >

    Please feel free to report this issue to the wsj.
     
    Rick Merrill, May 16, 2005
    #4
  5. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    MrPepper11 wrote:
    > May 12, 2005
    > Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
    > As More People Go Wireless, Patchwork of Call Centers Slows Locater
    > System
    > Upgrade Money Spent on Boots
    > By ANNE MARIE SQUEO
    > Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    >

    [major snippage]

    Ms. Squeo should've done her homework. There's so many misnomers I lost
    count before I read the fist half.

    Note: Reading something from the WSJ doesn't make it true nor accurate.


    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, May 16, 2005
    #5
  6. MrPepper11

    Mark Guest

    On 15 May 2005 16:40:01 -0700, "John" <> wrote:

    >Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?


    My, that is a mighty impressive and shiny netcop badge you have on your
    chest.

    Now shut your hole.
     
    Mark, May 18, 2005
    #6
  7. MrPepper11

    rick++ Guest

    InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    there may not be location info.
     
    rick++, May 18, 2005
    #7
  8. MrPepper11

    Rick Merrill Guest

    rick++ wrote:

    > InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    > implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    > there may not be location info.
    >


    Yes, the regulations have been submitted to congress and are
    certain to pass. They will probably require VoIP to change more in the
    US to PAY for the emergency connect services. Experienced carriers (like
    ATT.) will be in a better position because they have implemented 911
    services before now.
     
    Rick Merrill, May 18, 2005
    #8
  9. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    rick++ wrote:
    > InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    > implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    > there may not be location info.
    >



    Why wouldn't there be any location info? All anyone needs to do is the
    same thing a landline provider does - key the service address into the
    database.

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, May 19, 2005
    #9
  10. MrPepper11

    Bob Ward Guest

    On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <> wrote:

    >rick++ wrote:
    >> InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    >> implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    >> there may not be location info.
    >>

    >
    >
    >Why wouldn't there be any location info? All anyone needs to do is the
    >same thing a landline provider does - key the service address into the
    >database.



    And who keys the address into the database when the VOIP subscriber
    takes his adapter with him to another location?
     
    Bob Ward, May 19, 2005
    #10
  11. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    Bob Ward wrote:
    > On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>rick++ wrote:
    >>
    >>>InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    >>>implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    >>>there may not be location info.
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >>Why wouldn't there be any location info? All anyone needs to do is the
    >>same thing a landline provider does - key the service address into the
    >>database.

    >
    >
    >
    > And who keys the address into the database when the VOIP subscriber
    > takes his adapter with him to another location?
    >
    >



    The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those don't
    grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug their VoIP
    adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's location could not
    be assured. But, broadband services are delivered to a fixed location,
    and therefore are predictably trackable for 911 location services.

    This reminds me of a really nifty fella that managed to significantly
    extend the range of his own cordless home phone, so much so that he
    could use it for a couple of blocks all around his house. One day while
    out and about, Mr. Nifty encountered Capt. Heart Failure, but managed to
    dial 911 just before falling unconscious, and subsequently croaked
    because the ambulance went to his service address. Poor bastard never
    figured he could screw himself that way.

    There was another guy who decided to go totally wireless at his home.
    His fatal error was assuming the only cell site serving his home's
    location would always work.

    So, the moral of the story is simple - just because one can don't
    necessarily mean one should. Or, the instant one believes themself to
    be smart enough, along comes Darwin to prove they're not.

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, May 19, 2005
    #11
  12. MrPepper11

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <> Jer <>
    wrote:

    >rick++ wrote:
    >> InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
    >> implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
    >> there may not be location info.
    >>

    >
    >
    >Why wouldn't there be any location info? All anyone needs to do is the
    >same thing a landline provider does - key the service address into the
    >database.


    For fixed location VoIP gear, no problem. However, the issue is getting
    users to update their address when the VoIP hardware is moved (often on
    a short term basis).

    I have little desire to inform Vonage whenever I fly to Texas for a
    week. Moreover, since my account is located in Canada, Vonage won't
    even accept a US address for emergency services.

    At the same time, I don't want to be liable for someone using my phone
    to call for help when I'm staying at a friend's place in Texas and help
    not arriving because I didn't update my address.

    911 is one of those things in life where it's better to make no effort
    at all then to make the effort and get it wrong. If I dial 911 and say
    "Help! My house is on fire!" and the dispatchers says "Help is on the
    way, a fire truck will be there within 3 minutes", I'm probably not
    going to try to escape myself (since chances are I'm safer in my bedroom
    with a source of fresh oxygen then if I open the door and try to make it
    through a smoke+fire filled hallway -- It's not possible to attempt
    escape through the bedroom window)

    If the fire trucks show up where I was staying a week ago, I will still
    be standing around in my burning house waiting for help.

    However, if I know that no help is coming because when I dialed 911 I
    got a "Stop! You cannot dial 911 from this phone" message (like Vonage
    does for accounts without 911 service enabled), I'll know that I either
    need to grab my cell phone and call for help, or escape on my own.

    There may be criminal liability involved with getting it wrong too,
    incidentally. If I see a man drowning, I am under no obligation to
    help. However, if I yell to him that I am coming, and I fail to make an
    attempt to rescue him, I am now potentially guilty of criminally
    negligent homicide, since if were not for my actions, he might have
    continued screaming and someone else might have helped.


    --
    "I think women and sea men don't mix"
    -- Smithers, Simpsons
     
    DevilsPGD, May 19, 2005
    #12
  13. MrPepper11

    Bob Ward Guest

    On Wed, 18 May 2005 22:37:51 -0500, Jer <> wrote:

    >The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    >them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those don't
    >grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug their VoIP
    >adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's location could not
    >be assured. But, broadband services are delivered to a fixed location,
    >and therefore are predictably trackable for 911 location services.



    It's common enough that Vonage lists it as a selling feature on their
    website...

    We said we would redefine communications, and we meant it. Whether
    it's a short trip or a permanent move, you don't have to give up your
    number just because you're out of area. All you need is Vonage phone
    service and a broadband Internet connection. When visiting family,
    going on vacation or traveling for business, you can make and receive
    calls from one convenient Vonage number. Vonage gives you unparalleled
    choice and control over where and how you use your phone.

    Take it With You
    The phone adapter available through Vonage is small and fully
    portable. Simply unplug the adapter and take it wherever you want it
    anywhere in the world. Just plug it into any broadband Internet
    connection, connect a phone, and your Vonage line is ready to go.
     
    Bob Ward, May 19, 2005
    #13
  14. >> And who keys the address into the database when the VOIP subscriber
    >> takes his adapter with him to another location?


    >The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    >them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those don't
    >grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug their VoIP
    >adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's location could not
    >be assured. But, broadband services are delivered to a fixed location,
    >and therefore are predictably trackable for 911 location services.


    I can very easily see a service tech for networking equipment or
    computers usually used with networking carrying around an IP phone
    when they visit customer sites. It means they will have a phone
    in reach while they are at the equipment to call back to run remote
    diagnostics, order replacement parts, and call in higher-level
    support. Granted, if whatever it is they got called to fix is
    totally dead, broadband might not be available, but presumably the
    customer has some phones somewhere.

    I can also very easily see an employee carrying an IP phone around
    with him between different corporate offices in different cities,
    so his calls automatically follow him. A company deploying this
    would arrange to have broadband in all of its offices. I suspect
    there are a few employees in my company who do this.

    I also wonder what happens when it becomes easy (and this may have
    already happened) to set up private VOIP networks that are very
    hard to regulate because few people know they exist. That IP phone
    might be set up to use the company's VOIP switch as provider directly,
    bypassing Vonage and similar companies. You might or might not
    have the ability to make outside calls at all, much less 911.

    >There was another guy who decided to go totally wireless at his home.
    >His fatal error was assuming the only cell site serving his home's
    >location would always work.


    Another potential deadly problem is forgetting that you need power
    at your location to operate VOIP phones (the same applies to cell
    phones if the battery goes dead or you forgot to charge it. And
    sometimes you cannot operate your cell phone off the charger alone
    if the battery is dead enough. Waiting for it to charge while you
    are having a heart attack may be deadly. For that matter, so can
    fumbling around trying to change batteries while you need to call
    911.)

    Gordon L. Burditt
     
    Gordon Burditt, May 19, 2005
    #14
  15. Netcom mbickers, May 19, 2005
    #15
  16. MrPepper11

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Rick Merrill, May 19, 2005
    #16
  17. MrPepper11

    Ivor Jones Guest

    Mark wrote:
    > On 15 May 2005 16:40:01 -0700, "John" <> wrote:
    >
    >> Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?

    >
    > My, that is a mighty impressive and shiny netcop badge you have on
    > your chest.
    >
    > Now shut your hole.


    Don't be abusive. Answer the question, it is a reasonable one.

    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, May 19, 2005
    #17
  18. MrPepper11

    Ivor Jones Guest

    Jer wrote:

    [snip]

    > The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    > them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those
    > don't grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug
    > their VoIP adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's
    > location could not be assured. But, broadband services are
    > delivered to a fixed location, and therefore are predictably
    > trackable for 911 location services.


    If you're there. I *do* take my adaptor with me when I go on holiday (my
    friends who I stay with have ADSL). I also know several people who use
    VoIP ATA's at work and take them home with them so they can work from home
    if they need to.

    Also you're making the dangerous assumption that the whole world is the
    USA and uses 911 for emergency access. We don't here in the UK and if I
    take my ATA to the US with me which country's emergency services would I
    get..? Which number would I dial, 911 or the UK's 999..?

    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, May 19, 2005
    #18
  19. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    Bob Ward wrote:
    > On Wed, 18 May 2005 22:37:51 -0500, Jer <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    >>them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those don't
    >>grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug their VoIP
    >>adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's location could not
    >>be assured. But, broadband services are delivered to a fixed location,
    >>and therefore are predictably trackable for 911 location services.

    >
    >
    >
    > It's common enough that Vonage lists it as a selling feature on their
    > website...
    >
    > We said we would redefine communications, and we meant it. Whether
    > it's a short trip or a permanent move, you don't have to give up your
    > number just because you're out of area. All you need is Vonage phone
    > service and a broadband Internet connection. When visiting family,
    > going on vacation or traveling for business, you can make and receive
    > calls from one convenient Vonage number. Vonage gives you unparalleled
    > choice and control over where and how you use your phone.
    >
    > Take it With You
    > The phone adapter available through Vonage is small and fully
    > portable. Simply unplug the adapter and take it wherever you want it
    > anywhere in the world. Just plug it into any broadband Internet
    > connection, connect a phone, and your Vonage line is ready to go.
    >
    >



    Please don't misunderstand, I think the portability of it is great, so
    long as the user is aware that the devil is in the details, especially
    when related to 911 services. It's already been shown this is not
    always the case. VoIP, as a competitive service to regular landline, is
    pushing the envelope to new levels for all the right reasons. Sadly,
    some people, to their own demise, assume technology and legislation
    march arm-in-arm down the aisle. VoIP service is not for everybody,
    certainly including me - yet. Also certain, it'll be interesting to see
    how the all the usual suspects respond to this new bleeding edge.

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, May 19, 2005
    #19
  20. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    Gordon Burditt wrote:
    >>>And who keys the address into the database when the VOIP subscriber
    >>>takes his adapter with him to another location?

    >
    >
    >>The half-dozen Vonage people that I know don't carry it around with
    >>them, more because it requires a broadband interface, and those don't
    >>grow on every street corner. I suppose if one were to plug their VoIP
    >>adapter into a hotel internet connection, then one's location could not
    >>be assured. But, broadband services are delivered to a fixed location,
    >>and therefore are predictably trackable for 911 location services.

    >
    >
    > I can very easily see a service tech for networking equipment or
    > computers usually used with networking carrying around an IP phone
    > when they visit customer sites. It means they will have a phone
    > in reach while they are at the equipment to call back to run remote
    > diagnostics, order replacement parts, and call in higher-level
    > support. Granted, if whatever it is they got called to fix is
    > totally dead, broadband might not be available, but presumably the
    > customer has some phones somewhere.
    >
    > I can also very easily see an employee carrying an IP phone around
    > with him between different corporate offices in different cities,
    > so his calls automatically follow him. A company deploying this
    > would arrange to have broadband in all of its offices. I suspect
    > there are a few employees in my company who do this.


    I'm aware of a few companies that use VoIP internally on their own PBX,
    Cisco is one, considering they've offered VoIP business options for some
    time now, and Nortel.

    >
    > I also wonder what happens when it becomes easy (and this may have
    > already happened) to set up private VOIP networks that are very
    > hard to regulate because few people know they exist. That IP phone
    > might be set up to use the company's VOIP switch as provider directly,
    > bypassing Vonage and similar companies. You might or might not
    > have the ability to make outside calls at all, much less 911.
    >
    >
    >>There was another guy who decided to go totally wireless at his home.
    >>His fatal error was assuming the only cell site serving his home's
    >>location would always work.

    >
    >
    > Another potential deadly problem is forgetting that you need power
    > at your location to operate VOIP phones (the same applies to cell
    > phones if the battery goes dead or you forgot to charge it. And
    > sometimes you cannot operate your cell phone off the charger alone
    > if the battery is dead enough. Waiting for it to charge while you
    > are having a heart attack may be deadly. For that matter, so can
    > fumbling around trying to change batteries while you need to call
    > 911.)
    >
    > Gordon L. Burditt



    Wha...? Power? We don't need no stinking power! <vbg>

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, May 19, 2005
    #20
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