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When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?

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Anonymous
May 12, 2005 11:16:09 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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.

More about : dial 911 find

Anonymous
May 12, 2005 5:10:47 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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).
May 15, 2005 8:40:01 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?
Related resources
May 15, 2005 11:20:44 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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'
Anonymous
May 16, 2005 12:10:30 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

John wrote:
> Did you ask permission to reproduce copyrighted material?
>
Please feel free to report this issue to the wsj.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:31:35 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

InterNet telephones are next on the list to be forced to
implement 911. Simiolar issue to cellphones, because
there may not be location info.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 6:43:03 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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.
May 18, 2005 10:28:13 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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'
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 1:55:27 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

In message <118njsdgo19mna0@corp.supernews.com> Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten>
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
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 3:46:50 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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?
May 19, 2005 3:46:51 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Bob Ward wrote:
> On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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'
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 7:59:28 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

On Wed, 18 May 2005 22:37:51 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 9:03:56 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

>> 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
May 19, 2005 12:56:52 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Bob Ward wrote:
> On Wed, 18 May 2005 22:37:51 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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'
May 19, 2005 1:19:15 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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'
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 2:57:27 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Netcom mbickers wrote:

> The tutorial at this address:
>
> http://www.telecomflash.com/default.asp?func=articles&p...
>
> gives an overview of the problem and what needs to be addressed.
>
> Maurice
>
>
>

Thanks for the pointer to an excellent overview of 911 implementation.

How would I find out if my VoIP provider has a "direct-trunked VoIP
network?"
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 4:02:02 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Your question was already answered in the article:

"Almost 12 years later, more than half of the U.S. still lacks the
technology to find cellphone callers in distress."

KM
------------------

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
>
> 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.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 5:48:24 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

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
May 19, 2005 5:48:25 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Ivor Jones wrote:
> 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
>
>


That's a really good question... given how I understand the nature of
the service, I suppose dialing 999 would still connect, albeit the point
of doing so would be dubious.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 19, 2005 10:02:11 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Internet Phones Given 911 Deadline
May 19, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Internet phone providers were ordered Thursday to
begin supplying reliable 911 emergency call service after regulators
heard an anguished Florida woman describe how she was unable to summon
help to save her dying infant daughter.

The Federal Communication Commission gave companies 120 days to certify
that their customers will be able to reach an emergency dispatcher when
they call 911. Also, dispatchers must be able to tell where callers are
located and the numbers from which they are calling.

Her voice breaking, Cheryl Waller of Deltona, Fla., told the
commissioners before their vote that ''120 days is seven days longer
than my daughter lived.'' Julia Waller ''died at 113 days old because I
can't reach an operator,'' she said.

Waller said she got a recording when she used her Internet phone to
call 911 after her daughter stopped breathing last March. By the time
she was able to summon help with a neighbor's phone, the child was
dead.

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, who began a push for the 911 rules soon
after taking over the agency in March, said such situations are
''simply unacceptable.''

''Anyone who dials 911 has a reasonable expectation that he or she will
be connected to an emergency operator,'' Martin said.

Internet phone service, known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP,
shifts calls from wires and switches, using computers and broadband
connections to convert sounds into data and transmit them via the
Internet.

In many cases, subscribers use conventional phones hooked up to
high-speed Internet lines.

But unlike traditional phones, which have a fixed address that a 911
operator can quickly call up, Internet phone service can be mobile.
Someone with a laptop who signs up for service in Arizona, for example,
may end up calling 911 for an emergency while on a trip to Boston.

Roughly half the nation's estimated 1.5 million VoIP users are served
by cable television companies that already provide full-blown 911
capabilities because they only offer phone service to a fixed location.

The FCC's order requires companies that allow customers to use their
Internet phones anywhere there is an Internet connection to provide the
same emergency capability.

The order follow months of finger-pointing and bickering between VoIP
carriers and the traditional local phone companies that own the network
connections to the nation's nearly 6,200 ''public safety answer
points.''

The FCC order, approved by a 4-0 vote, requires local phone companies
to provide access to their E-911 networks -- those that enable
emergency operators to identify the location and telephone number of
the caller -- to any telecommunications carrier.

Just before the FCC issued its order, Vonage Holdings Corp., one of the
largest VoIP carriers, said it had reached an agreement with BellSouth
and SBC Communications to purchase E-911 services for its customers.

BellSouth confirmed the deal. A spokesman for SBC said the arrangement
has not been completed. Vonage reached a similar deal with Verizon last
week.

John Rego, Vonage's chief financial officer, said arrangements with the
three companies will enable Vonage to provide E-911 capability to more
than 75 percent of its customers. He said negotiations are continuing
with Qwest Communications on a deal to cover the other 25 percent.

''We've been trying to get this access for a year,'' Rego said. ''We'll
work as diligently as we can to make this happen in the next 120 days.
If we don't get there, the FCC will at least be able to see we've made
a very good faith effort.''

Companies that fail to meet the 120-day deadline would be subject to
the full range of FCC enforcement actions, including fines and
cease-and-desist orders.

Under the order, VoIP carriers must provide a way for customers to
update their location and callback numbers when they travel. Failure to
update that information would cause an emergency operator to assume the
call was coming from the last registered location.

The order also requires VoIP carriers to explain to their customers the
capabilities and limitations of the emergency response service they are
getting with their Internet phones. Connection to a 911 operator, for
example, would not be possible for a VOIP customer if there is a power
failure or loss of Internet connection.

Internet phone service usually is cheaper than traditional service,
ranging from $20 to $50 per month for an unlimited national calling
plan. As a result, it has become a rapidly growing industry, something
federal regulators said they did not want to slow.

But, commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said, ''We cannot let our desire
to see VoIP proliferate come at the cost of providing the best
emergency services available today, nor can we afford to take any steps
backward.''

The order does not apply to other Internet-based providers, such as
those that offer instant messaging or gaming services that contain
voice components.
May 19, 2005 10:19:46 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

poboxdc@ix.netcom.com wrote:
> Your question was already answered in the article:
>
> "Almost 12 years later, more than half of the U.S. still lacks the
> technology to find cellphone callers in distress."
>


Considering the bullshit the government tried to push down the throats
of the cellular providers, I'm not surprised.


--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 2:13:53 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

In article <4tkn81htas0ksqctvb60a0hvrsgu4b7am5@4ax.com>,
bobward@verizon.net says...
> On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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?

That would be the responsibility of the consumer. I keyed my info in by
myself and the ANI/ALI gets delivered to the E-911 dispatch center in my
state.
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 2:42:07 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

"Williams" <c-williams3@lycos.com> wrote:

>The Federal Communication Commission gave companies 120 days to certify
>that their customers will be able to reach an emergency dispatcher when
>they call 911. Also, dispatchers must be able to tell where callers are
>located and the numbers from which they are calling.

I almost hate to say it but.... Hooray for the FCC!
May 20, 2005 2:42:08 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Carey Gregory wrote:
> "Williams" <c-williams3@lycos.com> wrote:
>
>
>>The Federal Communication Commission gave companies 120 days to certify
>>that their customers will be able to reach an emergency dispatcher when
>>they call 911. Also, dispatchers must be able to tell where callers are
>>located and the numbers from which they are calling.
>
>
> I almost hate to say it but.... Hooray for the FCC!
>
>


I'm also now wondering who's going to take the hit for hotels when a
tenant plugs their internet phone into the wall jack. The hi-speed
internet service at some hotels requires the tenant to occasionally
re-certify their in-room internet service via an auth code provided by
the front desk when necessary. And it's not always free.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 6:18:49 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

In message <3f3g8qF5q7iiU1@individual.net> "Ivor Jones"
<ivor@despammed.invalid> wrote:

>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..?

Ideally both should be supported since 999 doesn't go anywhere else.


--
Microsoft: Putting the PR into proprietary.
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 6:56:55 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Hmm, that's going to be an interesting problem to solve, someone using
VoIP through an EV-DO card in a laptop while traveling. Some of us have been
smart enough to keep our plain old telephone service for precisely this
reason.

--
Thomas M. Goethe


"Williams" <c-williams3@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:1116548095.728159.259910@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Internet Phones Given 911 Deadline
> May 19, 2005
>
> WASHINGTON (AP) -- Internet phone providers were ordered Thursday to
> begin supplying reliable 911 emergency call service after regulators
> heard an anguished Florida woman describe how she was unable to summon
> help to save her dying infant daughter.
>
> The Federal Communication Commission gave companies 120 days to certify
> that their customers will be able to reach an emergency dispatcher when
> they call 911. Also, dispatchers must be able to tell where callers are
> located and the numbers from which they are calling.
>
> Her voice breaking, Cheryl Waller of Deltona, Fla., told the
> commissioners before their vote that ''120 days is seven days longer
> than my daughter lived.'' Julia Waller ''died at 113 days old because I
> can't reach an operator,'' she said.
>
> Waller said she got a recording when she used her Internet phone to
> call 911 after her daughter stopped breathing last March. By the time
> she was able to summon help with a neighbor's phone, the child was
> dead.
>
> FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, who began a push for the 911 rules soon
> after taking over the agency in March, said such situations are
> ''simply unacceptable.''
>
> ''Anyone who dials 911 has a reasonable expectation that he or she will
> be connected to an emergency operator,'' Martin said.
>
> Internet phone service, known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP,
> shifts calls from wires and switches, using computers and broadband
> connections to convert sounds into data and transmit them via the
> Internet.
>
> In many cases, subscribers use conventional phones hooked up to
> high-speed Internet lines.
>
> But unlike traditional phones, which have a fixed address that a 911
> operator can quickly call up, Internet phone service can be mobile.
> Someone with a laptop who signs up for service in Arizona, for example,
> may end up calling 911 for an emergency while on a trip to Boston.
>
> Roughly half the nation's estimated 1.5 million VoIP users are served
> by cable television companies that already provide full-blown 911
> capabilities because they only offer phone service to a fixed location.
>
> The FCC's order requires companies that allow customers to use their
> Internet phones anywhere there is an Internet connection to provide the
> same emergency capability.
>
> The order follow months of finger-pointing and bickering between VoIP
> carriers and the traditional local phone companies that own the network
> connections to the nation's nearly 6,200 ''public safety answer
> points.''
>
> The FCC order, approved by a 4-0 vote, requires local phone companies
> to provide access to their E-911 networks -- those that enable
> emergency operators to identify the location and telephone number of
> the caller -- to any telecommunications carrier.
>
> Just before the FCC issued its order, Vonage Holdings Corp., one of the
> largest VoIP carriers, said it had reached an agreement with BellSouth
> and SBC Communications to purchase E-911 services for its customers.
>
> BellSouth confirmed the deal. A spokesman for SBC said the arrangement
> has not been completed. Vonage reached a similar deal with Verizon last
> week.
>
> John Rego, Vonage's chief financial officer, said arrangements with the
> three companies will enable Vonage to provide E-911 capability to more
> than 75 percent of its customers. He said negotiations are continuing
> with Qwest Communications on a deal to cover the other 25 percent.
>
> ''We've been trying to get this access for a year,'' Rego said. ''We'll
> work as diligently as we can to make this happen in the next 120 days.
> If we don't get there, the FCC will at least be able to see we've made
> a very good faith effort.''
>
> Companies that fail to meet the 120-day deadline would be subject to
> the full range of FCC enforcement actions, including fines and
> cease-and-desist orders.
>
> Under the order, VoIP carriers must provide a way for customers to
> update their location and callback numbers when they travel. Failure to
> update that information would cause an emergency operator to assume the
> call was coming from the last registered location.
>
> The order also requires VoIP carriers to explain to their customers the
> capabilities and limitations of the emergency response service they are
> getting with their Internet phones. Connection to a 911 operator, for
> example, would not be possible for a VOIP customer if there is a power
> failure or loss of Internet connection.
>
> Internet phone service usually is cheaper than traditional service,
> ranging from $20 to $50 per month for an unlimited national calling
> plan. As a result, it has become a rapidly growing industry, something
> federal regulators said they did not want to slow.
>
> But, commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said, ''We cannot let our desire
> to see VoIP proliferate come at the cost of providing the best
> emergency services available today, nor can we afford to take any steps
> backward.''
>
> The order does not apply to other Internet-based providers, such as
> those that offer instant messaging or gaming services that contain
> voice components.
>
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 8:06:34 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

>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)

There are lessons here. One is that if you call 911, TELL THEM
WHERE YOU WANT HELP (assuming, of course, that you are able to).
What type of help you want comes first, though.

Just because YOU are at a payphone outside a 7-11, that doesn't
mean that the guy trapped in an overturned car is there rather than
half a mile down the road. GPS is nice, but I bet it doesn't send
ALTITUDE over cell phones, so whether you're on the overpass or
underpass may affect how long it takes to get an ambulance to you,
even if GPS is accurate down to the millimeter. And if you're on
the side of the freeway, the GPS may not be able to tell whether
you're on the freeway or the access road (maps may not cover every
curve of the road, even if GPS is 100% accurate), so again it might
matter in getting an ambulance to you. It's also my observation
that GPS doesn't work too well inside high-rise office buildings,
(couldn't even see one satellite on the top floor) and even if it
manages to get close (oh, it's the OTHER tower!) it won't say what
floor.

I once got involved in trying to trace a harassing phone call (as
the recipient). According to phone company records, there were a
pile of phone booths several kilometers high at 1500 Eighth Street,
one of them being the phone in question. Actually these phones
were in dorms spread over a 5 block by 5 block area. Not all of
the dorms actually had street addresses that anyone knew about -
many of them were on private roads. The entire campus had their
phones at one address. This was well before E911, though. I hope
the records are now fixed so if someone needs to locate a phone for
reasons more important than harassing phone calls, the caller won't
die waiting.

>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.

TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE! This should also include what floor or
what room so they have some idea where you might be trapped if you
don't get out, even if they have the right street address.

>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.

Agreed here.

Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
heart attack, how do I get help for her?

Gordon L. Burditt
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 8:06:35 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

In message <118qoia3odqc37@corp.supernews.com> gordon@hammy.burditt.org
(Gordon Burditt) wrote:

>>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.
>
>Agreed here.
>
>Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>heart attack, how do I get help for her?

My understanding is that if you dial 911 they'll eventually be able to
get you though to the right place. Maybe.

However, people aren't likely to be rational when they're going through
an emergency themselves.


--
Microsoft: Putting the PR into proprietary.
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 9:45:50 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

When you dial 911 will your call even go through is the instant question
and this decision is not a panacea. 911 was entirely developed around
traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). That service was
delivered over a pair of copper wires that went from a telephone Central
Office (CO) to the subscribers premise. It's voice signals were powered
from the CO's batteries which were recharged from motor generators
driven by the local electrical utility or by on sight generation when
utility power was unavailable. Since telephone service developed before
rather than after reliable public electrical power was available in many
communities the COs were all built to be self sufficient and the local
operating companies never changed that practice. None of the new comers
to the industry ever tried to imitate the level of reliability that the
LOCs achieved. Many of the disputes between the new comers and the LOCs
have been about how much access the new comers would have to the LOCs
resources rather than the LOCs subscribers. The LOCs have very good
reasons to fight against the new comers getting space in the exchanges,
access to exchange power, and use of exchange switching equipment at
bargain basement rates. All of the new comers attack the LOCs for
demanding full cost pricing including a profitable return on the LOCs
physical plant investments.

Mean while the rate of telephone service having exceeded 95% of all
households nation wide all of the nations major cities have abandoned
their once substantial investment in emergency communications systems
which allowed citizens to call for help without using the Switched
Telephone Network. The most familiar example of such systems was the
network of street fire alarm boxes that many cities maintained until the
seventies. The signals from those alarms traveled on dedicated wires,
over redundant pathways, with continuous supervision of the circuits
integrity. Such expensive but very reliable emergency reporting systems
only exist as a few remnants in a few places.

As competition puts more and more pressure on investment reliability of
service will go the way of the dodo. We may begin to see architects
designing watchtowers into new fire stations so the watchman can look
for the loom up of the fire within their service areas if the trend
continues.
--
Tom Horne

Well we aren't no thin blue heroes and yet we aren't no blackguards to.
We're just working men and woman most remarkable like you.
May 20, 2005 11:03:59 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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.

What if the 911 caller is unable or unsure of the address from which
they are reporting? That's what E911 is all about.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
May 20, 2005 11:52:06 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Gordon Burditt wrote:

> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>
> Gordon L. Burditt


Having a sister who's an operator, this is easy for me to answer... in
this situation, forget 911, dial "0", when the operator answers, explain
that you have an emergency and need to speak to law enforcement for
medical assistance in your mother's location. They will make every
attempt to connect you to the appropriate authority and will stay on the
line until that happens. Operators have been providing this level of
service for many years and are glad to help any way they can under these
circumstances.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 20, 2005 12:04:29 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

HorneTD wrote:
> When you dial 911 will your call even go through is the instant question
> and this decision is not a panacea. 911 was entirely developed around
> traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). That service was
> delivered over a pair of copper wires that went from a telephone Central
> Office (CO) to the subscribers premise. It's voice signals were powered
> from the CO's batteries which were recharged from motor generators
> driven by the local electrical utility or by on sight generation when
> utility power was unavailable. Since telephone service developed before
> rather than after reliable public electrical power was available in many
> communities the COs were all built to be self sufficient and the local
> operating companies never changed that practice. None of the new comers
> to the industry ever tried to imitate the level of reliability that the
> LOCs achieved. Many of the disputes between the new comers and the LOCs
> have been about how much access the new comers would have to the LOCs
> resources rather than the LOCs subscribers. The LOCs have very good
> reasons to fight against the new comers getting space in the exchanges,
> access to exchange power, and use of exchange switching equipment at
> bargain basement rates. All of the new comers attack the LOCs for
> demanding full cost pricing including a profitable return on the LOCs
> physical plant investments.

This was precisely the issue when AT&T started providing local exchange
service from inside the local CO. Their equipment was piggy-backed onto
the emergency power system, thereby deriving the same benefits as the
local carrier did. Without equitable pricing, AT&T was getting a cheap
ride on some very expensive investments by the local carrier.

>
> Mean while the rate of telephone service having exceeded 95% of all
> households nation wide all of the nations major cities have abandoned
> their once substantial investment in emergency communications systems
> which allowed citizens to call for help without using the Switched
> Telephone Network. The most familiar example of such systems was the
> network of street fire alarm boxes that many cities maintained until the
> seventies. The signals from those alarms traveled on dedicated wires,
> over redundant pathways, with continuous supervision of the circuits
> integrity. Such expensive but very reliable emergency reporting systems
> only exist as a few remnants in a few places.
>
> As competition puts more and more pressure on investment reliability of
> service will go the way of the dodo. We may begin to see architects
> designing watchtowers into new fire stations so the watchman can look
> for the loom up of the fire within their service areas if the trend
> continues.


--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 12:45:09 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

DevilsPGD wrote:

> In message <118qoia3odqc37@corp.supernews.com> gordon@hammy.burditt.org
> (Gordon Burditt) wrote:
>
>
>>>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.
>>
>>Agreed here.
>>
>>Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>>had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>>Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>>she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>>phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>>heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>
>
> My understanding is that if you dial 911 they'll eventually be able to
> get you though to the right place. Maybe.
>
> However, people aren't likely to be rational when they're going through
> an emergency themselves.
>
>

Remember that case where two guys on a chat line (or were they playing
chess by computer?) and the one in England had a heart attack and the
guy in the US called for help?
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 2:16:32 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Jer wrote:

> Gordon Burditt wrote:
>
>> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>>
>> Gordon L. Burditt
>
>
>
> Having a sister who's an operator, this is easy for me to answer... in
> this situation, forget 911, dial "0", when the operator answers, explain
> that you have an emergency and need to speak to law enforcement for
> medical assistance in your mother's location. They will make every
> attempt to connect you to the appropriate authority and will stay on the
> line until that happens. Operators have been providing this level of
> service for many years and are glad to help any way they can under these
> circumstances.
>

Good advice, except that the context of this thread was VoIP, and most
VoIP services do NOT have "operator"! (This is how they lower costs.)
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 3:58:42 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

In article <iQeje.4769$uR4.699@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>, HorneTD <hornetd@mindspring.com> wrote:
> That service was
>delivered over a pair of copper wires that went from a telephone Central
>Office (CO) to the subscribers premise. It's voice signals were powered
>from the CO's batteries which were recharged from motor generators
>driven by the local electrical utility or by on sight generation when
>utility power was unavailable.

Typically, the nominal -48Vdc power for the MTSO/CO is provided by a power
system that converts AC to DC. The batteries are only used in the event of a
power outage. They are connected via busbar so there is no transfer time.
Most critical sites also have one or more backup gen-sets to provide power
beyond the battery capacity.

You also need this in the remote/DLC cabinets and cell sites that may be
serving the end user. If the cell site or DLC dies, the end sub has no
service, regardless of the condition of the upstream MTSO or CO.
May 20, 2005 4:36:51 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

"MrPepper11" <MrPepper11@go.com> wrote in message
news:1115907369.571482.239900@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
May 12, 2005
Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?

Is there any movement on this issue toward location of the phone by a
combination of:

1. Current satellite location, or
2. Last satellite location, or
3. Cell tower triangulation location?
May 20, 2005 7:26:48 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

On Fri, 20 May 2005 08:04:29 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> wrote:

>This was precisely the issue when AT&T started providing local exchange
>service from inside the local CO. Their equipment was piggy-backed onto
>the emergency power system, thereby deriving the same benefits as the
>local carrier did. Without equitable pricing, AT&T was getting a cheap
>ride on some very expensive investments by the local carrier.

For 98% of the US AT&T *was* the local carrier. AT&T had a major
investment in pretty much all the Bell companies with the exception of
SNET (Southern New England Telephone) and Cincinnati & Suburban Bell
Telephone. Except for the independents and except for GTE and Contel
Bell owned most of the infrastructure in the US and a partial interest
in Bell Canada in Ontario and Québec.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 10:02:54 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

In message <L5SdnTNqtIRMRhDfRVn-hw@comcast.com> Rick Merrill
<jaynehm@comcast.net> wrote:

>DevilsPGD wrote:
>
>> My understanding is that if you dial 911 they'll eventually be able to
>> get you though to the right place. Maybe.
>>
>> However, people aren't likely to be rational when they're going through
>> an emergency themselves.
>>
>>
>
>Remember that case where two guys on a chat line (or were they playing
>chess by computer?) and the one in England had a heart attack and the
>guy in the US called for help?

No actually, I don't...


--
Study reveals half the country has below-average intelligence.
May 20, 2005 11:10:31 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Rick Merrill wrote:
> Jer wrote:
>
>> Gordon Burditt wrote:
>>
>>> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>>> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>>> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>>> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>>> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>>> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>>>
>>> Gordon L. Burditt
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Having a sister who's an operator, this is easy for me to answer...
>> in this situation, forget 911, dial "0", when the operator answers,
>> explain that you have an emergency and need to speak to law
>> enforcement for medical assistance in your mother's location. They
>> will make every attempt to connect you to the appropriate authority
>> and will stay on the line until that happens. Operators have been
>> providing this level of service for many years and are glad to help
>> any way they can under these circumstances.
>>
>
> Good advice, except that the context of this thread was VoIP, and most
> VoIP services do NOT have "operator"! (This is how they lower costs.)


Another revelation! Is it available as an pay-extra feature?

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 20, 2005 11:17:13 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Joseph wrote:
> On Wed, 18 May 2005 18:28:13 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> 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.
>
>
> What if the 911 caller is unable or unsure of the address from which
> they are reporting? That's what E911 is all about.
>

Well, yeah, there's that, and not all callers speak the same language as
the PSAP operator, not all callers are sober, and some callers are just
dumber than a bag of hammers and have no clue where the hell they are
until excrement occurs. OTOH, if one can simply edit their location
info via a secure webpage, then that makes things a lot simpler. But
there are other deal killers in the loop.


--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 20, 2005 11:18:54 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Rick Merrill wrote:
> DevilsPGD wrote:
>
>> In message <118qoia3odqc37@corp.supernews.com> gordon@hammy.burditt.org
>> (Gordon Burditt) wrote:
>>
>>
>>>> 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.
>>>
>>>
>>> Agreed here.
>>>
>>> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>>> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>>> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>>> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>>> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>>> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>>
>>
>>
>> My understanding is that if you dial 911 they'll eventually be able to
>> get you though to the right place. Maybe.
>>
>> However, people aren't likely to be rational when they're going through
>> an emergency themselves.
>>
>>
>
> Remember that case where two guys on a chat line (or were they playing
> chess by computer?) and the one in England had a heart attack and the
> guy in the US called for help?


Yeah, I do, they both knew where the other was because they both
belonged to the same club. A no-brainer.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 20, 2005 11:29:05 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Joseph wrote:
> On Fri, 20 May 2005 08:04:29 -0500, Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> wrote:
>
>
>>This was precisely the issue when AT&T started providing local exchange
>>service from inside the local CO. Their equipment was piggy-backed onto
>>the emergency power system, thereby deriving the same benefits as the
>>local carrier did. Without equitable pricing, AT&T was getting a cheap
>>ride on some very expensive investments by the local carrier.
>
>
> For 98% of the US AT&T *was* the local carrier. AT&T had a major
> investment in pretty much all the Bell companies with the exception of
> SNET (Southern New England Telephone) and Cincinnati & Suburban Bell
> Telephone. Except for the independents and except for GTE and Contel
> Bell owned most of the infrastructure in the US and a partial interest
> in Bell Canada in Ontario and Québec.
>
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>


Well, yeah, back when the RBOCs were owned by Ma Bell - pre-MFJ. But
that was then and this is now. AT&T was not a local carrier anywhere in
Texas, but they sure wanted to squirrel their way under SBC's sheets.
They eventually did in major urban service areas, and SBC wound up
taking several financial hits for the additional load on the power
infrastructure, in-building HVAC operating costs, etc. primarily because
AT&T usage fees were tied directly to their revenue stream. In most
places that wasn't much.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 20, 2005 11:30:26 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Blue wrote:
> "MrPepper11" <MrPepper11@go.com> wrote in message
> news:1115907369.571482.239900@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> May 12, 2005
> Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
>
> Is there any movement on this issue toward location of the phone by a
> combination of:
>
> 1. Current satellite location, or
> 2. Last satellite location, or
> 3. Cell tower triangulation location?
>
>


Everything you ever wanted to know about TDOA...

http://www.trueposition.com

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 11:31:56 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Blue wrote:

> "MrPepper11" <MrPepper11@go.com> wrote in message
> news:1115907369.571482.239900@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> May 12, 2005
> Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
>
> Is there any movement on this issue toward location of the phone by a
> combination of:
>
> 1. Current satellite location, or
> 2. Last satellite location, or
> 3. Cell tower triangulation location?
>
>

Only in cell phones. It would be a waste to put GPS in an ATA :-)
Anonymous
May 21, 2005 2:24:34 AM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Blue wrote:
> "MrPepper11" <MrPepper11@go.com> wrote in message
> news:1115907369.571482.239900@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> May 12, 2005
> Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
>
> Is there any movement on this issue toward location of the phone by a

> combination of:
>
> 1. Current satellite location, or
> 2. Last satellite location, or
> 3. Cell tower triangulation location?

Besides the other technological info given...a little practicle tip in
the meantime. If one should ever be on a roadway and need to give E911
location information verbally, look around for a roadmarker. Many roads
have a small metal post with unique road grid number. Seems like every
1/4 to 1 mile or so.

Believe the primary use is by road maintanence crews. I'm not entirely
sure how quickly an emergency dispatcher could cross reference a road
sign, or what access they have to this kind of database??

I don't think it would take long for a county works department to
access this kind of info, during business hours.

-
David
Anonymous
May 21, 2005 12:47:13 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Jer wrote:
> Rick Merrill wrote:
>
>> Jer wrote:
>>
>>> Gordon Burditt wrote:
>>>
>>>> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>>>> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>>>> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>>>> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>>>> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>>>> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>>>>
>>>> Gordon L. Burditt
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Having a sister who's an operator, this is easy for me to answer...
>>> in this situation, forget 911, dial "0", when the operator answers,
>>> explain that you have an emergency and need to speak to law
>>> enforcement for medical assistance in your mother's location. They
>>> will make every attempt to connect you to the appropriate authority
>>> and will stay on the line until that happens. Operators have been
>>> providing this level of service for many years and are glad to help
>>> any way they can under these circumstances.
>>>
>>
>> Good advice, except that the context of this thread was VoIP, and most
>> VoIP services do NOT have "operator"! (This is how they lower costs.)
>
>
>
> Another revelation! Is it available as an pay-extra feature?
>

Nope.

Maybe have people at home on call for when you need to talk? mmmmm...
May 21, 2005 12:47:14 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

Rick Merrill wrote:
> Jer wrote:
>
>> Rick Merrill wrote:
>>
>>> Jer wrote:
>>>
>>>> Gordon Burditt wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Another issue which comes up occasionally, but I've luckily never
>>>>> had to deal with it personally: How do I call 911 for another area?
>>>>> Example: I'm talking on the phone to my mother (in another state),
>>>>> she stops talking, groans, says HELP a couple of times, drops the
>>>>> phone, then silence. Assuming I think she might have just had a
>>>>> heart attack, how do I get help for her?
>>>>>
>>>>> Gordon L. Burditt
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Having a sister who's an operator, this is easy for me to answer...
>>>> in this situation, forget 911, dial "0", when the operator answers,
>>>> explain that you have an emergency and need to speak to law
>>>> enforcement for medical assistance in your mother's location. They
>>>> will make every attempt to connect you to the appropriate authority
>>>> and will stay on the line until that happens. Operators have been
>>>> providing this level of service for many years and are glad to help
>>>> any way they can under these circumstances.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Good advice, except that the context of this thread was VoIP, and
>>> most VoIP services do NOT have "operator"! (This is how they lower
>>> costs.)
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Another revelation! Is it available as an pay-extra feature?
>>
>
> Nope.
>
> Maybe have people at home on call for when you need to talk? mmmmm...


Dayem! I smell another business opportunity. Woo Woo!

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
May 21, 2005 1:02:45 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,comp.dcom.telecom.tech (More info?)

David L wrote:
>
> Blue wrote:
>
>>"MrPepper11" <MrPepper11@go.com> wrote in message
>>news:1115907369.571482.239900@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>>May 12, 2005
>>Cellphone Hangup: When You Dial 911, Can Help Find You?
>>
>>Is there any movement on this issue toward location of the phone by a
>
>
>>combination of:
>>
>>1. Current satellite location, or
>>2. Last satellite location, or
>>3. Cell tower triangulation location?
>
>
> Besides the other technological info given...a little practicle tip in
> the meantime. If one should ever be on a roadway and need to give E911
> location information verbally, look around for a roadmarker. Many roads
> have a small metal post with unique road grid number. Seems like every
> 1/4 to 1 mile or so.
>
> Believe the primary use is by road maintanence crews. I'm not entirely
> sure how quickly an emergency dispatcher could cross reference a road
> sign, or what access they have to this kind of database??
>
> I don't think it would take long for a county works department to
> access this kind of info, during business hours.
>
> -
> David
>


Here are a few tip references for the geographically-challenged, and
they would be well served to become familiar with how things are done,
especially if one is too embarrassed to stop and ask for directions.

To get started, there are two different methods currently deployed to
number interstate highway exits - mailpost marker system (most states)
and sequential numbering system (the few remaining states).

Some will just have to trust me on this, but take it from the Roadtrip
King, knowing this info has saved somebody's bacon many times, sometimes
even mine.

http://tinyurl.com/c4b85


--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
May 21, 2005 11:16:06 PM

Archived from groups: misc.consumers,alt.cellular,alt.cellular.cingular,comp.dcom.voice-over-ip,misc.emerg-services (More info?)

Jer <gdunn@airmail.ten> wrote:

>I'm also now wondering who's going to take the hit for hotels when a
>tenant plugs their internet phone into the wall jack. The hi-speed
>internet service at some hotels requires the tenant to occasionally
>re-certify their in-room internet service via an auth code provided by
>the front desk when necessary. And it's not always free.

So what? The technical issues of mapping a hotel connection to the hotel
and room number are trivial compared to, say, determining a cell phone's
location. Internet cafes, libraries, and all sorts of public access points
will have the same issue. I guess they'll either have to figure it out or
quit providing VoIP to those locations.

VoIP providers got into the business of providing public telephone service,
but they didn't bother providing the whole package and you see the results.
It's easy to undercut the other guys when you're allowed to skip the hard
parts. Well, now they can't, and it's about time. All the FCC is saying is
they have to quit being half-baked telephone companies and become real ones.
!