& cplSiteName &

RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
4/28/2005
50%
50%

The RBOCs now appear to be playing ball with VOIP providers on E911, but for a price (see VOIP 911 Still Trails Wireline).

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) has been in negotiations with Vonage Holdings Corp. over the past two weeks, Light Reading has learned, while Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) Tuesday announced an E911 trial with VOIP providers, including Vonage, for this summer.

Verizon says it has been working with various VOIP providers and vendors on a generic interface between a VOIP network and the public E911 system. The interface will allow 911 calls originating on VOIP networks to be automatically routed to one of the two Public Safety Access Points (PSAPs) in New York City.

As the incumbent LEC, Verizon owns the pipe to the public E911 system and can sell access to other service providers in New York.

“Once it is up and running, we’ll be taking discreet steps to make it available elsewhere,” says Verizon spokesperson Mark Marchand. Verizon operates in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

SBC will likely offer Vonage an E911 interface similar to Verizon’s, once the two work out their differences.

The fact that the two are talking at all is progress, considering their rocky start. “Let’s be real about where they started from,” says Vonage spokesperson Brooke Shulz. “The first answer they gave us was ‘No, we’re not going to sell it to you.' ”

SBC has since changed its tune with Vonage, perhaps under pressure from Verizon’s progress. “SBC recognizes that this is a public service and it’s a critical one, and we’re going to make our best effort to work with them,” says SBC spokesperson Wes Warnock.

“SBC explained that Vonage could obtain access to E911 either by purchasing a retail switched 911 product or through an ancillary agreement to use SBC’s Tip Top product, which is a product that we offer other companies and includes E911 access," Warnock says.

But Vonage has rejected SBC’s pre-packaged solutions, which were designed for CLECs.

“We need access to the wireless elements as well because we have out-of-rate-center numbers,” Shulz says. “The CLEC solution is only good for local people on local phone numbers, so you’re forcing us into a half-assed solution.”

SBC is now assessing Vonage’s request for an E911 connection similar to those offered to wireless carriers, but Warnock says Vonage must also “obtain consent” from the PSAPs in SBC’s footprint before any agreement can be reached.

“We’re still discussing all this stuff with them, and we really don’t want to negotiate it in the press,” Warnock says.

Verizon’s E911 solution is all about public safety, Verizon says. But, as Vonage points out, it’s also about revenue.

“It’s a revenue generator, and it’s also a competitive advantage for their Voicewing [VOIP] product,” Shulz says. “If they design a solution that works for their voice-over-IP product, and other people can buy it, it’s in their benefit.”

Verizon acknowledges it will sell its E911 interface but offers few details on the price. The cost to the VOIP provider will depend on how many customers it has and how many network trunks are needed to handle the E911 traffic, says Verizon’s Marchand. “Then [it’s] whatever the tariffed rate is that anybody else would pay -- no more, no less.”

According to Vonage, the prices are also based on the locations you need to trunk into and on the development costs. Vonage says it’s worth it. “We are happy to do it and we’re happy to pay for it,” Shulz says of the Verizon agreement.

As Vonage learned the hard way in Texas, failure to support E911 service is a public relations black eye just waiting to happen (see Texas: Vonage 911 Is a Joke). Vonage’s Jeffrey Citron has for months complained of the RBOCs’ foot-dragging on enabling emergency service for VOIP callers (see Citron: Some Bills Are 'Weirdly Weird' ).

Cooperation on E911 between the telcos and VOIP providers has been slow. The telcos view VOIP players as a potentially disruptive force and haven’t been eager to help in their growth.

Until now, VOIP providers have relied upon third-party security companies to link their customers to law enforcement and emergency response agencies (see Vonage, Alarm.com Partner on VOIP Security and AT&T Adds 911 VOIP Calling).

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
rjmcmahon
50%
50%
rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:05 AM
re: RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911
Please clarify any misunderstandings I might have. I perceive the RBOCs as saying VoIP providers are not competitive because of E911 concerns, and then their actions are actively obstructing VoIP providers from offering that emergency service. Is this correct?

If they'll go as far to comprimise our public safety to prevent competition, it makes one question the integrity of the leadership we have acting as caretakers to our communications infrastructures.
PO
50%
50%
PO,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:00 AM
re: RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911
One of the many challenges for VOIP E911 has been determining the location of the caller.

My understanding is that Vonage is focused on presenting an address explicitly provided by their subscriber in order to identify the location of the emergency, and the appropriate Public Safety Access Point to contact.

Is anyone looking at dipping into a database of IP assignments against physical location? If the ISPs are willing to co-operate, or are mandated to do so, it seems there may be an opportunity to check the physical location to which a particular IP address has been allocated at any given time - at least for the majority of residential services (dial-up, DSL, or cable), and use that to supplement the available information.

Does anyone have further experience investigating such an opportunity?
PO
50%
50%
PO,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:16:57 AM
re: RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911
"IP address does not define a geographic location."

This is true in general. But as I suggested, for most residential subscribers it will correlate with a geographic location at any specific time.

If my connection is over UTP (i.e. dialup or DSL), there is information available which can correlate my IP address to that twisted pair. And that twisted pair correlates to a specific geographic address.

If my connection is over a cable modem, my subscription is similarly located at a specific physical location, and this information can be correlated to the IP address which has been assigned.

Sure, a subscriber could illegally re-sell their internet connection to other users at another location. Or another user could connect on an open wireless access within some geographic range from the subscriber location.

I also concede that this data correlation is not popularly done today, and making such a correlation public has been resisted by ISPs on privacy grounds against the likes of the RIAA. ISPs for their part concede that this correlation is possible, although it is not normally done today in the normal course of their operations: making it available in real-time would take effort on their part, but would appear to be technically feasible.

Other, larger networks (including many business subscribers) may or may not fit into such a paradigm. But having information based on physical wiring can often be helpful, especially if no other information has been explicitly registered by the subscriber.

My question wasn't to see if people could repeat the mantra of IP addresses not representing a physical location; it was to see if anyone has investigated a co-operative relationship with ISPs to provide a necessary emergency service.
jaynad
50%
50%
jaynad,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:16:57 AM
re: RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911
IP address does not define a geographic location. Sure you can localize it based upon what the serving ISP might know about the supposed subscriber - but that can still be misleading. The caller could be running through a proxy or might be attached to a wireless router that is sharing on an ad hoc network. Point is you can't know for sure. Even if the VoIP subscriber gave an address when they signed up they might not be at that address when they call 911. The TA boxes are very portable. They could be at a hotel on the road.

Besides the location information VoIP doesn't work when the power is out. Yeah, you can battery back-up up your end but you can't count on the ISP doing the same.

Check the Vonage Terms of Use regarding 911. They have their butt covered 10 different ways - but this just says it all:

"2.11 Alternative 911 Arrangements
You acknowledge that Vonage does not offer primary line or lifeline services. You should always have an alternative means of accessing traditional E911 services."

Until IP addresses can define a geographic location the way PSTN lines do 911 on VoIP will be "different".

jayja
50%
50%
jayja,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:16:52 AM
re: RBOCs Change Tone on VOIP E911
This is very nice of Verizon to enable Vonage to offer E911 service.

Of course, I live in a Verizon service area and we do NOT have 911 service. If Vonage can offer it insetad of Verizon, maybe that's one more reason to ditch Verizon and purchase VoIP.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
RSAC 2017 in 4 Words
Curtis Franklin, Security Editor, 2/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.