When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?

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

  1. MrPepper11

    Garry W Guest

    I'm afraid those are things of the past, too. The original purpose of
    person-to-person, as I recall, was to avoid having to pay the long-distance
    charge if the person you wanted to talk to wasn't even there. This was of
    interest when long distance cost an arm and a leg. Nowadays when the
    surcharge for the operator is a hundred times greater than the charge for the
    long distance call itself, person-to-person just doesn't make much sense.

    Collect calls are useful from a pay phone. Or, rather, they =used= to be
    useful -- back when pay phones were still plentiful. Back when pay phones
    didn't have built-in "dial anywhere" deals. Back before calling cards were
    available really cheap in every convenience store. Back before you could talk
    to your automobile directly.

    Only people I've heard of who still call collect are the prison inmates.
    The kids I know that are anywhere near grown seem to have all acquired their
    own cell phones...

    Garry W, May 22, 2005
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  2. When you are calling for 2cents or less per minute do you really care
    if you get the wrong person or of the call is collect? The whole idea
    of operator-assisted calls only made sense when the calls had
    substantial per minute fees.

    Wolfgang S. Rupprecht, May 22, 2005
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  3. MrPepper11

    Jer Guest

    Again, please don't misunderstand, I'm all for inovation, but can open,
    worms everywhere.

    One worm is when a VoIP client is in a hotel with in-room hi-speed
    internet. Plugging in a VoIP adapter is easy enough, and in some cases
    that's all that's necessary. However, in others, the hotel tenant is
    required to re-certify their continued expectation of use by negotiating
    a webpage that requires a code be manually typed in from a connected PC
    - the code is happily provided by the front desk upon check-in, and for
    subsequent days. I was in one a few weeks ago where each certification
    period was only good for 12 hours before a new code was required from
    the front desk. If my cert period expired in the middle of a session -
    it died regardless of activity level - and curiously there was no
    in-room info placard that carried a clue. VoIP clients who aren't aware
    of this shouldn't expect their VoIP service to always be available under
    these situations. If one is expecting to make or receive important VoIP
    calls when out-of-pocket, one should be aware of these issues.
    Jer, May 22, 2005
  4. I'm also now wondering who's going to take the hit for hotels when a
    I think that if I were the hotel, I would put a sticker on the real
    phone next to the Ethernet jack saying "in case of emergency, dial 911
    on this phone."

    The goal here is to provide working 911 to people who need it. I have
    never seen a hotel room with an ethernet jack but no phone, and I
    doubt that anyone else has, either.
    John R. Levine, May 22, 2005
  5. MrPepper11

    Joseph Guest

    There are automated "operator" services in the US and Canada as well.
    Instead of dialling 1 before an area code you dial 01 and when you are
    through dialling you get a menu with prompts. Depending on the
    service some have you key 12 for collect (reverse charges) or for
    third number or calling/credit card it's all automated.

    Since they started to charge for directory assistance (enquiries) here
    in the states I can count on one hand the number of times I've used it
    in the last 26 years. Heck most of the time even if you do use
    directory assistance they have got it wrong!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Joseph, May 22, 2005
  6. MrPepper11

    Joseph Guest

    Well, the person you call collect pays a hefty premium so you can call
    them. Many people even have collect call blocks on their lines in
    addition to third party billing block.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Joseph, May 22, 2005
  7. MrPepper11

    Tony P. Guest

    Which is precisely why I block 411 with my Mitel SMART-1 controller. It
    just wasn't worth Vonage's buck a pop to get an incorrect listing.
    Tony P., May 22, 2005
  8. The problem with wireless sites are connectivity and keeping systems
    within tolerance. If something along the route from the MTSO is
    disrupted, the site is isolated. As far as battery power, if HVAC is
    not continued, the equipment will fail out even if the batteries have
    remaining capacity.

    Some of the sites out here have generator connections and manual
    transfer switches. The batteries float volatile settings, but when the
    power is out, so is the system.

    As an emergency manager, my perennial question to wireless providers -
    especially to those who purport to be "interoperability solutions" is:
    Since the sites have a jack and a manual transfer switch, when a
    technological emergency happens and there is no power, who gets the
    resources??? What guarantee is there that they will support my
    operation and not run with their resources to the "big" city 45 miles

    From my side of the fence, every site is a critical site, particularly
    when a company is marketing itself to be of service to public safety

    Steve & Susan, May 22, 2005
  9. MrPepper11

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <> "Wolfgang S. Rupprecht"
    Collect calls will not be billed at 2c/minute, they are billed at the
    operator rate of the dialing telco (IIRC this is regulated in the states
    -- I know for sure that the CRTC regulates the operator or base rate in
    DevilsPGD, May 22, 2005
  10. MrPepper11

    Garry W Guest

    Just connect it to Infone instead. The regular directory assistance around
    here is pitiful/horrible/usually wrong (I'm thinking especially of Verizon.)

    But Infone is great.

    It's that same buck a pop (well, 89 cents now), but sometimes you're talking
    to an operator who's actually =been= to "that diner on Broadway" you can't
    quite remember the name of (did that), and always you can ask things like "I
    know there's a Target store around here somewhere, but I can't quite find it
    -- can you guide me in?" (been there, done that too.)

    Sign up at www.infone.com, then put 888-411-1111 on your VoIP speed-dial.

    shamelessly shilling,
    Garry W, May 22, 2005
  11. MrPepper11

    Garry W Guest

    Wolfgang was talking about =regular= phone calls being "2 cents a minute or

    Garry W, May 22, 2005
  12. MrPepper11

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <> Garry W
    He said "do you really care if you get the wrong person or if the call
    is collect?" -- If you get the wrong person you're out a few cents, no
    big deal.

    If you get a collect call, you're out a fair amount of money, at least a
    hundred minutes of direct dialed calls.
    DevilsPGD, May 22, 2005
  13. MrPepper11

    Miguel Cruz Guest

    Right, but since phone calls cost 2 cents a minute, who would bother to make
    a collect call (outside of a prison, that is).

    Other than my dad, who has an inexplicable habit of calling me collect from
    airports, I can't think of the last time I've encoutnered one.

    Miguel Cruz, May 22, 2005
  14. MrPepper11

    Kurt Ullman Guest

    And it would also seem MUCH quicker in an emergency to use the
    land line. I would also be willing to bet that there is a "regular"
    land line (if not a few cell phones) in most of the Internet cafes.
    the VoIP 911 problem would be mainly in home and (and possibly
    Kurt Ullman, May 22, 2005
  15. MrPepper11

    Don S Guest

    Depends upon location and time of year. Also, some companies are taking a
    serious look at using DC HVAC systems, which will run off of the batteries.
    This makes sense only in manned locations.

    The batteries float volatile settings, but when the
    Can you elaborate on this ? Nominal float voltage from the DC power system is
    -54Vdc. Wet cell or VRLA battery systems are composed of 24 * 2V cells. For
    those with Low Voltage Disconnect (LVDs), the setting is usually -42Vdc.
    The good thing about the wireless network is that there is usually another
    cell site that can provide service, in the event a closer site goes down.
    Don S, May 22, 2005
  16. Most of the sites here (I am in a rapidly urbanizing suburb which
    borders on rural areas) are served by sites which have slab-mounted
    enclosures which are weathertight without having a full pre-fab
    housing. These seem to have their own HVAC internally, but do not have
    anything more than the manual transfer switch and generator jack.

    I'm not sure if there are batteries in there, as there doesn't seem to
    be much room. Even if there are, this couldn't run very long given the
    typical powe failure duration in these parts.
    None of these locations are manned. Most of them are in remote
    I'll do my best. It's been a while since I was in the industry.
    In the late 80's/ early 90's I did work in the AMPS cellular industry.
    This was a time when PCS was called "CT2." I understand things have
    changed. Back then, I was with a "B carrier" whose sites mostly AT&T
    equipment which had banks of glass jar batteries along one side of the
    wall. My impression is that these sites were built to remain up for
    several days. One iDEN site I was in had a battery rack that seemed to
    be gel cells which had significantly less capacity. The equipment may
    be more efficient, i.e., more power may be directed toward actual RF
    transmission and not toward signal processing or receiving, but I
    doubt that with the volume of usage that follows during a high-impact
    incident that this site would function very long (perhaps in
    comparison to one with a bank of Exide jars) following power
    Sure, in most places but not out here. Building redundancy and
    overlapping coverage is not considered in the business model for an
    area such as this. We generally have high-site coverage of Interstates
    and coverage falls off between 3 - 10 miles off the path of the

    I have been getting the hard sell for "partnering" with carriers, one
    in particular, to apportion public funds for diverse routing and
    emergency power solutions, as well as development of wireless
    facilities at publicly funded tower-sites for their infrastructure.
    The promise is that "we" can ride on their fortified system. The
    unseen is that their system is making money and there is no discussion
    of revenue sharing up on the table. The danger is that other carriers
    will claim exception and we will be forced to encrust each of the
    public sites with each of the 800 MHz and PCS carriers, which would
    increase wind loading and preclude our own ability to put up antennas
    for our own internal use. But, gee, at least one carrier says if their
    system is fortified I don't need anything else :eek:) LOL!

    Steve & Susan, May 22, 2005
  17. While it may be much quicker and has obvious benefits, our stats show
    that people use whatever they are conditioned to use. Our system stats
    indicate about 57% of system-wide 9-1-1 access being wireless (VoIP is
    pointed to a POTS line, so we can't even collect numbers on that). The
    primary PSAP actually is closer to 65% wireless (there are eight PSAPs
    in the system). I've heard from other 9-1-1 coordinators that their
    wireline calls account for only about 32% of total system usage now.

    One of the 9-1-1 coordinators who has a greater disposable income than
    mine brought a new toy to a meeting: a PDA with a wi-fi card and a
    VoIP telephony application. There are some people out there who want
    to make wi-fi VoIP a cellular competitive system.

    Steve & Susan, May 22, 2005
  18. MrPepper11

    John Nelson Guest

    First of all, the notion that the location of a cell phone caller can be
    determined quickly and reliably (without the use of GPS enabled
    handsets) is a MYTH. Yes, triangulation can narrow down the general
    vicinity (depending greatly on the density of sites within the area) but
    that's a far cry from "1234 Main Street, Apt. 3-G". So let us set aside
    the argument that cell phones provide E911 functionality. Clearly, they
    do not.
    Or... the FCC could adopt a realistic position with respect to the
    technical issues involved in providing E911 services via VOIP.
    It is not that simple. Access to the PSAPs is available ONLY via the
    ILEC's. Heretofore, those companies have made it virtually impossible
    for most VOIP providers to gain that access. If the FCC is serious about
    having the VOIP providers deliver E911, they are going to have to ensure
    that the playing field is level.
    John Nelson, May 22, 2005
  19. The 9-1-1 "industry" and the regulatory environment that 9-1-1 exists
    in is a nasty business where there are constantly ways of finding
    nickles and dimes for business partnerships which are transparent to
    PSAPs. It's also hung together like Post-it notes layered on top of
    each other. Technology which was put aside in the 70's for telephony
    (enhanced MF, like the tones at the end of Pink Floyd's "Young Lust")
    is still widely used in 9-1-1. That's layered on top of database
    providers, which is layered on top of other database providers, which
    is layered on top of... and so on... and so on... . I'd rather see
    innovation, but one that moves in an all digital direction which
    provides end-to-end digital. ILECs see this as a threat because in a
    completely digital environment, they are less necessary (if at all).

    In one situation, an ILEC which we retain for selective routing and
    database services proposed a tariff for wireless services that would
    charge US (the 9-1-1 system... in my case, I operate six primary
    PSAPs, one secondary and one disaster recovery) for each wireless
    Phase 1 or Phase 2 9-1-1 call we receive. We are not cost-recovered.
    We would - hypothetically - have to either fund 9-1-1 from the general
    revenue fund, or take the impolitic course of turning off all wireless
    access and make 9-1-1 a service provided to taxpayers. Either way, we
    lose. The Commission has done NOTHING to aid the several states which
    could not develop cost recovery mechanisms, yet the carriers charge a
    "Federal Universal Access" fee which, when you pin them down, is
    ostensibly for "complying" with 9-1-1 mandates, which in some cases is
    not being offered in that area, which some carriers will refuse to
    comply with locally until they get their cut from other funding

    Despite these issues, the public sector end of this is constantly
    forced to live up to a perceived standard of care that is established
    by external factors, such as marketing.

    I concur that the playing field has to be narrowed to a common
    denominator, however, the FCC is as much a political animal as local
    legislatures are. I don't see anything meaningful coming from the
    Commission other than another unfunded mandate that is ultimately
    passed on to us local 9-1-1 systems.

    Steve & Susan, May 22, 2005
  20. Even WITH GPS, there are severe limitations to cellular ALI. One that
    is consistantly ignored is the location of an iindividual inside a
    shopping mall or highrise building where there is attenuation of
    signal preventing the use of the GPS constellation. Or, for that
    matter a situation which requires a Z coordinate.
    Agreed. The figure of accuracy was another ambitious goal from the FCC
    where the technology was not quite as reliable as the lawyers expected
    (just like the migration of land mobile services to 6.25 kHz occupied
    bandwidth when they aren't even ready to go to 12.5 kHz). Perhaps they
    should have asked the one or two engineers in their organization that
    have not attritioned out just yet. Positioning by means of RF can be
    slewed by a number of factors no one has control over, such as
    multipath in an urban environment, propagation over large bodies of
    water, ground conductivity, relative humidity, etc.

    I sell the idea by the notion of "aiming low." When the lofty goals
    are set aside, knowing "something" about where a caller is located is
    better than knowing "nothing."

    Now, all I and other 9-1-1 coordinators who are not fortunate to be
    leaders in the field working in well-funded/ high profile environments
    need (besides a better regulatory environment and politicians who take
    9-1-1 more seriously) is more than one site in our outlying wireless
    coverage so that there can be another point to triangulate from.

    Steve & Susan, May 22, 2005
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