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12/14/2005
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All Vonage VoIP Users Now Get E911 Service

The company is in adherence with the FCC rule, Vonage says.

Leading VoIP provider Vonage said Wednesday that its entire customer base has access to enhanced emergency 911 services.

“Today, any Vonage customer in the U.S. who dials 911, will get help when they need it most,” read the announcement.

Providing E911 E911 capability has held up the deployment of many VoIP providers and Vonage was no exception. The Federal Communications Commission extended the deadline for compliance to Nov. 28, but then extended it beyond that date without naming a specific date for compliance.

The company supplying E911 technology to VoIP providers -- Level 3 -- said its coverage applies to more than 67 percent of VoIP services. Level 3, which noted that it began working on supplying the emergency calling service more than two years ago, said it expects to have E911 service available to 70 percent of VoIP service providers by year’s end.

Some peer-to-peer VoIP providers like Skype Technologies haven’t completely complied with the E911 edict from the FCC. Skype has argued that its VoIP calling is an “enhancement” service and, as such, shouldn’t be held to the same standards as other VoIP services.

In the Vonage system, subscribers’ calls including their addresses and phone numbers are sent to a local emergency call center that fields the calls based on callers’ addresses. The callers' identification markers are displayed on dispatchers’ screens, but if that attempt fails, another service called Basic 911 can handle customers’ calls.

In addition, Vonage has established a failsafe safety net whereby emergency calls can be placed to the firm’s national 911 emergency response center, the company said.

Vonage said it has equipped emergency call centers with E911 technology in more than 80 U.S. counties.

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