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Connecticut slaps Vonage over 911

Tue, 05/03/2005 - 8:00pm
Staff

The attorney general of Connecticut sued Vonage Tuesday, accusing the VoIP provider of "misleading customers" about the limits of its emergency 911 capabilities, Reuters reported.

Richard Blumenthal alleged that the provider failed to fully disclose that emergency calls may take longer to connect or go completely unanswered. The suit seeks changes in Vonage's marketing and unspecified financial penalties, Reuters added, noting that Texas state officials have also sued Vonage over similar 911 disclosures.

Vonage told the news agency that the company provided the complaining Connecticut customer with "full disclosure" about the limitations of Vonage's emergency system.

Perhaps in response to the heat, Vonage announced Tuesday a collaborative 911 deal with Verizon. Under that deal, Vonage will be able to deliver a caller's location and call back number to emergency services personnel for 911 calls placed in Verizon's territory. The companies plan to have the system up and running within six months.

In this scenario, calls are routed to Vonage's 911 server via SIP technology. The server then queries Intrado Inc., a provider of 911 systems, for routing instructions. From there, the call is directed to the media gateway connection to the Verizon network and a router that services the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Intrado also places the customer's address and telephone number into the Automatic Location Information (ALI) database. This will allow the PSAP 911 operator to obtain the customer's address and phone number from the ALI database.

Verizon last month announced plans to sell its Enhanced 911 emergency calling system to other VoIP service providers.

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