VoIP Carriers and Enhanced 911 Service

In a post on the VoIP Innovations blog, Natalie DeCario discusses VoIP Enhanced 911 (E911) service and its impact on VoIP service providers.

E911 service

However, before embarking on this discussion, the blogger first defines E911 service as a North American telephone network (NANP) feature of the 911 emergency calling system that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party’s telephone number. As per the blog post, this emergency service has globally adopted a three-digit telephone number to access the service. While the U. S. has adopted 911, the European Union uses 112. Presently, the E911 service is offered in many metropolitan areas in the U.S. and Canada.

Mandate for VoIP 911 service

VoIP E911 service began on June 3, 2005, when FCC chairman Michael Powell imposed 911 obligations on VoIP service providers. Since then, it has become mandatory for any VoIP carrier providing VoIP services to the end user/consumer to offer E911 services.

Per DeCario’s discussion, this new mandate kicked off the E911 service in the country. Since location of the caller is crucial to this emergency service, it is determined by the Automatic Location Information (ALI) database, which is used to both route the call to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), as well used to determine the location of the caller.

The discussion indicates that the PSAP is the final destination of an E911 call, where the 911 operator sits. For VoIP service provider, it means finding a wholesale VoIP provider who can offer 911 service either as a bundled package or a standalone service, according to the blogger. Hence, it is essential to find a provider whose service makes managing E911 less painful, wrote DeCario.

VoIP provider 911 service requirements

In short, as per this discussion, the service provider must find an E911 provider with a robust API and the ability to automate new registrations, edit existing registrations, and remove outdated registrations. Because unregistered VoIP numbers can slow down first responder’s reaction time, the blog post reaffirms that all VoIP numbers must be registered and kept up to date.

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