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AT&T's VoIP gets 911 help

AT&T said Tuesday that it hired infrastructure maker Intrado to develop the way its Internet phone customers can reach 911. The 911 service will debut in the spring, according to Intrado. A representative for AT&T could not be reached for comment.

Internet phone service providers rarely offer a direct connection to 911 call centers due to a technology mismatch. Internet phone calls use Internet Protocol, the world's most popular method for sending data from one computer to another. Emergency call centers rely on circuit-switched telephone technology, which is incompatible with IP. Analysts say the ability to dial 911 is key if VoIP services are ever to replace traditional landline phones.