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I subscribe to Packet8 VoIP service, and was really glad to hear that they will be implementing E911 service beginning next month (Nov 2005).
Other internet phone service providers are quickly adding E911 to their networks as well, due to new FCC requirements.
Earlier this year the FCC made it mandatory that all internet 911 calls be routed to local emergency services.
This service is called E911 - or enhanced 911.
It is designed to make sure emergency calls from the internet are answered by a 911 operator in the caller's immediate area.
It also provides emergency operators with a call back number and address of the caller.
Unlike the 911 service that is attached to a traditional land line phone, the operator that answers an emergency call from an internet phone has no way of seeing where the call is coming from.
The caller must provide his/her address (including city and state) so the operator can forward the call to the closest 911 switchboard.
During an emergency when every second counts, this method of relaying calls is time consuming and could mean the difference between life and death.
E911 fixes this problem by automatically routing calls to closest 911 center.
It also provides operators with a call back number and the callers address - enabling help to arrive as quickly as possible.
In order for E911 to work properly, the burden is on the internet phone user to maintain a current registered address with their VoIP service provider.
This information is used to route emergency calls and provide caller identification.
Since many people travel with their VoIP phone, or move and take it with them, it's important that all subscribers update their address information every time their phone is moved to a different location.
E911 is finally here, and I'm relieved.
The lack of a reliable 911 service is the only thing I don't like about VoIP.
Once enhanced 911 is implemented, internet phone service will be "perfect" in my eyes.
© Copyright 2005, Debbie Jacobsen.
All rights reserved.

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