CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Networking

BellSouth gives VoIP operators some 911 help

Baby Bell opens up its 911 routers, nears deal to give Vonage access to emergency calling infrastructure.

BellSouth is opening up its 911 routers to all Net telephony operators and nearing a deal to give Vonage access to its emergency calling infrastructure, the Baby Bell said Thursday.

A day earlier, a spokesman for Verizon Communications, which also owns a significant portion of the 911 infrastructure, said it signed a pact with Vonage for the same kind of access.

The two developments highlight rapid changes that will, starting later this year, allow Vonage and other voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers to offer a 911 service that accompanies each emergency call with the person's address and phone number.

With such an upgrade, VoIP operators, which transform broadband connections into phone lines, will have a 911 service that can better compete with cellular and landline operators.

Traditional landline phone providers and cellular operators are already required to meet so-called E911 regulations that make it possible for emergency call centers to locate phones dialing 911. Now the Federal Communications Commission is putting growing pressure on VoIP operators to offer the same kind of technology.

Emergency calls using VoIP are for now indirect at best. The calls take a circuitous route often ending up at the administration offices of 911 call centers, and not emergency dispatchers.