VoIP and 911

Adhering to public safety and emergency preparedness is an important part of any communication system. That is why the FCC mandates that VoIP providers still make it so consumers of the VoIP service are still able to use the emergency 911 services regardless if there is an Internet connection available or not. Because many VoIP phone systems can easily go off line if there is something wrong with the local Internet connection for any number of reasons, the risk of losing access to being able to make calls to 911 in case of an emergency is one that shouldn’t be made. Fortunately because of FCC requirements, the providers of Interconnection VoIP services – services that use Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – to originate and terminate calls, there are requirements that these service providers must make it possible to meeting Enhanced 911 (E911) obligations. The E911 systems work to automatically provide to emergency services professional with a 911 caller’s call back number and location information.

Understanding the importance of VoIP and 911, making sure both of these are possible, is an important way to make sure emergencies are handled quickly and efficiently and are not hindered with the consumer’s usage of VoIP communication technology. As many individuals and businesses are switching to Voice over Internet Protocol communication technology, it is important to make sure your phone is still able to dial 911 whether it has an Internet connection or not.

VoIP technology works to allow the caller to make and receive calls to and from a traditional phone numbers, but instead of using the PSTN, an Internet connection is used instead. Usually subscribers using a VoIP phone service will be connected to the service with a high-speed Internet connection like broadband or DSL using a cable modem or wireless broadband. While there are tons of added benefits to switching to VoIP including the cost savings as well as the great VoIP features that are not available with traditional phone lines, it is still so important to be able to use your work or home line to be able to make an emergency calling by dialing 911 for assistance.

Keep in mind that there are traditional phone services that have a particular phone number with a fixed address. However, the portable interconnected phone service that is used with VoIP makes it so the caller or consumer can take their home or business with them on the road while traveling. This is an especially helpful tool that can be used while traveling for work as long as there is an Internet connection. However, while this is a super convenient service, it also makes it difficult for the location of the caller to be determined automatically. This means that emergency services may not always be able to determine the location of the caller at the time of the emergency. If the caller is unable to relay his or her location, it might be difficult for emergency services to be dispatched to the proper location.

In an effort to avoid some of these potential complications with using VoIP phone services, it is important to first make sure you are aware that VoIP service works differently than traditional phone lines and consumers show know that the 911 service might be different as well. If you are using your VoIP phone service, make sure you are able to provide the current location of where you are to avoid having the emergency services being sent to the wrong location. In addition, the FCC is taking extra steps to make sure that all interconnected VoIP providers automatically provide the 911 service to their customers as a standard feature. Customers should not have to specifically request this service. VoIP providers must also not allow their customers to opt-out of the 911 services. If you ever have any questions about the 911 service works with your VoIP provider, be sure to contact your customer support team today to learn more.

Sources: fcc.gov

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