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E911 and VoIP telephony

If you are reading this you probably already know that Voice Over IP telephony services have some limitations when it comes to placing emergency 911 calls.

What happens when you call 911 using a traditional telephone service?

The nowadays 911 service, also known as E911 (Enhanced 911) is capable of identifying a caller's exact location. There are certain emergency situations when one can dial 911 without being able to talk or communicate his/her location, therefore it is crucial for Public Safety Answering Point operators (people who answer 911 calls) to be able to locate a 911 caller.

How is VoIP 911 different than traditional 911?

In the case of traditional phone service a telephone number is associated with an exact physical address. This is not always the case with VoIP - one of the advantages advertised by VoIP providers is the ability to use the service from anywhere providing you have access to a high speed internet connection. Most VoIP providers make it clear to their customers that, when calling 911 using your VoIP line the emergency personnel are dispatched to the address associated with your account. So DO REMEMBER to change your address in the event of changing the location where your VoIP phone service is used. VoIP companies are required to provide an easy way to do this.

What happens in case of a power outage?

If your power goes out you will simply NOT BE ABLE to dial 911 or any calls using a VoIP connection. Is is therefore advisable to also have a functional traditional or wireless phone line.

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