Light Reading

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
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.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
LRTV Custom TV
The Benefits of HyperScale Clouds for NFV

3|27|15   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speeds, and at the lowest possible cost. The original ETSI NFV vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices. This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

3|26|15   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
LRTV Custom TV
JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

3|26|15   |   5:59   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
LRTV Custom TV
Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

3|25|15   |   03:11   |   (0) comments


David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
Between the CEOs
Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

3|24|15   |   13:53   |   (0) comments


LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

3|24|15   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

3|24|15   |   7:51   |   (0) comments


More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Industry 4.0

3|24|15   |   02:26   |   (9) comments


Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution? It's a big deal for influential operators such as Deutsche Telekom.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Getting Connected With eLTE

3|23|15   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Trunked radio communications have entered the 4G LTE world, and with Huawei's eLTE solution, can now deliver a full range of data and video services as well as push-to-talk voice, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Funkwerk’s on Track With Huawei

3|19|15   |   3:23   |   (0) comments


GSM-R technology specialist Funkwerk and Huawei have forged a partnership that is benefiting both parties, notes Funkwerk's Gottfried Winter.
LRTV Documentaries
How EANTC Tested Cisco's Virtualization Solutions

3|18|15   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director of independent test lab EANTC, tells Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the innovative approach his team had to take when validating Cisco's service provider virtualization and cloud solutions.
Upcoming Live Events
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Woos SMBs With Small-Scale WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/26/2015
The Rise of Industry 4.0
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 3/24/2015
Google Hires Wall Street's Most Influential Woman as CFO
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/24/2015
Average US Broadband Speeds No Great Shakes
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/25/2015
Net Neutrality Suits: Only The Beginning?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 3/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
Cats with Phones
Interspecies Phone Love Click Here
"No, you hang up."
"No, YOU hang up."
Latest Comment