Vonage reached an agreement with Verizon to access elements of Verizon's wireless and wireline Enhanced 9-1-1 network, enabling Vonage to offer its VoIP customers E9-1-1 service. As a result of the deal, Vonage will able to deliver both caller's location and call back number to emergency services personnel for 911 calls placed throughout Verizon's territory. Work to develop the technical solution and to finalize a commercial agreement was given high priority by executives at both firms.
Specifically, Verizon's wholesale group has committed to offer Vonage the following elements on a commercial basis for the deployment of NENA-compatible Enhanced 9-1-1 within Verizon's 28-state territory:
- Direct trunking to the more than 100 Verizon-owned selective routers
- Provision of wireless components enabling non-local numbers to call 911 - ESRNs (pANIs) and ESQKs (pALIs)
- ALI-steering agreement for Intrado, Vonage's technology partner.
The companies described their pact as a milestone for the VoIP industry, noting that Verizon is the first ILEC to work closely with any nomadic VoIP service to ensure emergency calling gets through. Vonage, Verizon and Intrado intend to implement this first-of-its-kind E9-1-1 solution throughout Verizon territory within 6 months. To implement this novel solution, Verizon will perform all necessary modifications and translations to the network elements in each PSAP service area that bundle the ALI and selective routing infrastructure. The proposed solution is compliant with NENA's proposed I2 technical standard.
How It Works
When Vonage customers dial 9-1-1, the call is routed to Vonage's 9-1-1 server using SIP. The Vonage server then queries Intrado for routing instructions. The call is then directed to the media gateway connection to the Verizon network, over a dedicated physical circuit connected directly to Verizon's selective router that serves the Public Safety Answering Point ("PSAP"). Simultaneously, Intrado places the customer's address and telephone number into the Automatic Location Information (ALI) database. The supplementary special key unique to the call is included in signaling, and allows the PSAP 9-1-1 operator to pull the customer's address and phone number from the ALI database.
- In April 2005, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision requiring VoIP service providers to provide the same level of 9-1-1 emergency service that is provided by the incumbent telephone companies within 90 days. Specifically, the Commission requires VoIP service providers providing either nomadic VoIP service or foreign exchange VoIP service to implement, within 90 days of the date of this decision, an interim solution which provides a level of service comparable to Basic 9-1-1 service.
- In March 2005, the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against Vonage, the country's largest Internet-based telephone service provider, for failing to make clear to consumers that the company's current service does not include access to traditional emergency 9-1-1 service. The story was widely reported in newspapers across the country. The state of Texas said the dangers posed by Vonage's failure "to clearly disclose the lack of traditional 9-1-1 access" had already resulted in a tragedy.