Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Internet phone firm advances 911 service

Filed under
Sci/Tech

The nation's leading Internet telephony service moved closer to offering a complete emergency calling service Monday, signing an agreement with a vendor experienced in providing enhanced 911 data to public safety officials.

The agreement between phone pioneer Vonage and TeleCommunications Systems Inc. to provide call routing and steering services is an important component in meeting an Internet phone emergency calling requirement enacted by the Federal Communications Commission in May.

"This is a big step in the direction to get enhanced 911 running by the end of the year," said Brooke Schulz, senior vice president for corporate communications at Vonage Holdings Corp., based in Edison, N.J.

Schulz said that the company has also made progress in another vital aspect of emergency calling--interconnections with SBC Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other dominant traditional phone companies to reach public safety dispatchers.

"Things are going well," said Schulz. "We need the physical connections from the Bells, and we've made quite a bit of progress in our negotiations with them. We expect some announcements soon."

Internet telephony, also called voice over Internet protocol, uses high-speed network connections to deliver voice messages in packets, just as e-mail is delivered. The technology is cheaper and provides many new features, including mobility.

For example, a Vonage customer with a Chicago phone number can take his phone to a hotel room in New York City or San Francisco and plug it into a broadband connection there. Callers dialing the Chicago number will reach the Vonage customer wherever he takes the phone.

But this mobility poses a challenge when an Internet phone is used to dial 911. Vonage's new service will require customers to register on the Internet each time they change locations, Schulz said. It can take up to two hours once a new address is entered before the new location is fully known to the Vonage system.

No technology exists to provide location information automatically, Schulz said, although researchers are working in labs to produce it.

Some companies that offer VoIP service, including most cable television operators, do not include mobility as an option, so the problem of identifying a customer's location and directing the 911 call to the appropriate public safety dispatcher is greatly simplified.

While VoIP makes up a tiny fraction of telephone service now, analysts expect that it will eventually dominate the industry.

A survey released Monday suggests that Internet telephony's appeal continues to grow among so-called early adopters of new technology.

ChangeWave Research, which polls executives and professionals in selected industries, found that this technologically elite group is warming to VoIP rather quickly.

A survey of 1,900 respondents found that 14 percent now use VoIP in their homes. That's double the numbers from an earlier survey taken in September. ChangeWave also found that another 22 percent of respondents say they will probably start using VoIP service within the next year.

"VoIP is a fledgling industry that's growing up fast," said Tobin Smith, ChangeWave's founder.

"Wrapping 911 service into VoIP is a big hurdle that's always been there, and now the industry is addressing it," Smith said.

"You can almost guarantee that next year Vonage will go public, and the industry will really be off to the races."

By Jon Van
Chicago Tribune

More in Tux Machines

How To Create Virtual Hosts On Apache Server To Host Multiple Websites

If you have apache installed, you probably know what localhost is. Localhost allows a single website to be hosted locally. However, when using virtual hosts, you can host multiple websites on the single server. The process is fairly simple and I will demonstrate it here itself. Read
more

Android Users: To Avoid Malware, Try the F-Droid App Store

In the early days of Android, co-founder Andy Rubin set the stage for the fledgling mobile operating system. Android’s mission was to create smarter mobile devices, ones that were more aware of their owner’s behavior and location.“If people are smart,” Rubin told Business Week in 2003, “that information starts getting aggregated into consumer products.” A decade and a half later, that goal has become a reality: Android-powered gadgets are in the hands of billions and are loaded with software shipped by Google, the world’s largest ad broker.Android Users: To Avoid Malware, Try the F-Droid App Store Read more

LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.3 MR

LibreELEC 8.2.3 is released to change our embedded pastebin provider from sprunge.us (RIP) to ix.io (working) so users can continue to submit logs to the forums through a URL without copy/pasting text or direct uploading log files. This is our preferred way to receive and read your log files so if you are not familiar with using the paste function please read this wiki article to find out how. The 8.2.3 release also solves an issue with continuity errors on USB DVB adaptors that has been troubling some 8.2 users for some time; kudos to user @jahutchi for tracking down the problem kernel commit. We also address a long-running crashing issue with Intel BayTrail hardware that needed some users to force max_cstate in kernel boot parameters, and for bonus credit users with an Intel NUC equipped with an LED can fiddle with the colours, as we backported the LED driver from our master branch. Read more

Linux 4.15 Expected To Be Released Today, But It Might Be 4.15-rc9

After going through release candidates the past eight weeks, the Linux 4.15 kernel is expected to be released later today by Linus Torvalds. Normally after RC7, the kernel is baked, but all the changes last week due to the fallout from Spectre/Meltdown led to RC8. But this past week, the pace of change has continued with many fixes still coming in. We'll likely see Linux 4.15.0 out today as Torvalds commented last week, but it wouldn't really be surprising if overtime is extended and instead we get 4.15-rc9 due to all of the changes this week and ongoing work still happening around Spectre and Meltdown mitigation. Read more