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Johanne Torres[October 14, 2004]

Vonage and Intrado to Fix E911 in Rhode Island


In a live video press conference today, Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp. joined Steve Seitz, government affairs director for the National Emergency Number Association ( NENA) in announcing its E911 (define - news - alert) efforts with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) (define - news - alert) technologies in the state of Rhode Island.

According to Citron, Vonage was contacted by the state of Rhode Island wanting to possibly resolve the problem which haunts the VoIP industry—the inability to safely rely on E911 for emergency calls via a VoIP connection. Citron gave an overall explanation of Vonage’s technology deal with Intrado, which is currently working with the VoIP pioneer in this effort.

Intrado has been in business for 25 years. According to a representative present at the conference, the company routes about 95 percent of emergency calls terminated. Vonage’s Citron explained that when Vonage customers dial 9-1-1 using Vonage’s VoIP connection, Vonage will route the call over to Intrado. Intrado will then route the call to an operator who will determine where the call should go in order to resolve the emergency in question. With this Vonage/Intrado solution in place, Rhode Island emergency service dispatchers will be able to obtain callers’ call back phone number (from IP) in case the call gets disconnected, complete name, and location when they dial 9-1-1.

Vonage also announced it joined as a charter member the National Emergency Number Association's (NENA) "Next Generation E 9-1-1" forum. The forum was set up to discuss next generation technologies and services to improve the 9-1-1 system in the U.S. The company and NENA expressed their desire to get the Federal government involved in creating policy relief nationwide for general public safety. “What we are asking for is not to be told how to do VoIP, but instead we need access to 911 elements,” said Citron.

While the state of Rhode Island currently works with AT&T (quote) and Verizon (quote) to start implementing E911 solutions for those VoIP providers as well and other cellular communication companies, Vonage and Intrado along with Qwest (quote) have already started working with other states including Washington to implement their combined E911 solution.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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