FCC_and_911

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The (USA) FCC order on E911, and SIP Broker.


Does SIP Broker provide E911 emergency services (for those SIP Broker users in the USA)?

No. SIP Broker does not provide any emergency calling services (including 911)!

It is recommended that you plan for some other way of making "emergency calls" ahead of time, so that you are prepared if/when an emergency should occur. The last time you want to think about how you are going to make an "emergency call" is when you are in an "emergency" itself. So plan ahead...


But doesn't the FCC require SIP Broker to provide such services?

No. If you look carefully over the FCC orders, you will discover that the FCC has a very specific 4-part test for which VoIP companies are defined as providing an "Interconnected VoIP service". Only services that meet all 4-parts of this FCC test for being an "Interconnected VoIP service" are required to provide E911 service to their customers.

SIP Broker does not, and never has, met all 4-parts of this FCC test. Because SIP Broker doesn't meet the FCC's own criteria for who falls under the FCC's E911 rules, SIP Broker is not required by the FCC to provide 911 service in any form.


But wouldn't it be "a good thing" to provide emergency calling services (such as 911) anyway?

SIP Broker is not meant as a replacement for your normal telephone. SIP Broker is meant as a tool to allow you to connect with the VoIP community more efficiently.

It is recommended that you plan to make "emergency calls" by some means other then SIP Broker. For example, you could plan to keep a normal telco line for E911 use. Or maybe you wish to sign up with a commercial VoIP provider that has E911 service. Or maybe you just want to keep a cell phone charged up and handy. But whatever your plan for "emergency calling", it is recommended that you come up with such a plan for what to do "in case of an emergency".

In addition, SIP Broker really does not have the resources to provide E911 calls, even if they wanted to. The established USA telcos have a lock on many of the circuits that connect E911 calls. So for any VoIP company (even a commercial company getting paid to provide service) to provide E911, they have to pay the telcos (a lot of money) for "the privilege" of doing so. SIP Broker is a free service, that does not have the financial resources to pay the USA telcos for E911 interconnect.

NOTE: Even if cost were not an issue, the only way that SIP Broker could possibly provide E911 service, is if they were able to tell what address the call came from. And SIP Broker currently has no way of knowing that info! So the only way it would be "technically feasible" to provide 911 service in any form (never mind the cost), is if SIP Broker were to modify their service so that only "registered users" who have provided their address info could use SIP Broker. And "closing down" SIP Broker like that, would make it much less useful to the VoIP community...


But what if I still want to make 911 calls with the adapter I use with SIP Broker?

SIP Broker does not provide 911.

However, it is possible with some VoIP adapters to use multiple services with the same adapter. As just one example of this, a Sipura SPA-3000 adapter can be configured to let you use multiple VoIP providers, as well as interconnecting with a normal telco phone line (should your house have one). With such an adapter, it would be possible to setup your adapter to route 911 calls either to your existing telco line (if you still have one) or the commercial VoIP provider of your choice. So in some cases, it is possible to make 911 calls from the same VoIP adapter (and "phone") you use with SIP Broker.

But in that case, it is your adapter (and your other phone provider) that is completing the 911 call, not SIP Broker. And therefore it is your responsibilty (not SIP Broker's) to make sure that your preferred way of making 911 calls is properly working.


But doesn't the recommended USA SIP Broker "dial plan" include 911?

See the previous question (about how SIP Broker can combine with other provider's services)...

The only thing that the 911 "dial plan" entry (for the "recommended USA dial plan") does, is make it a little easier for you to properly combine SIP Broker with another VoIP service, and have your adapter send 911 calls to that other VoIP service. i.e. SIP Broker is helping you with "the setup details" should you wish to combine SIP Broker with a VoIP service that has 911 support (a setup that would appeal to a lot of people).

However, this obviously only lets you access 911 services this way, if (and only if) your normal "default" VoIP company supports 911. If you don't have another VoIP provider, or that other VoIP provider can't handle 911 calls, than you will not have 911 on the adapter/phone you use with SIP Broker (no matter what the dial plan says)!

NOTE: It is your responsibility (not SIP Broker's) to make sure your adapter is setup correctly to not block whatever "emergency calling" you might need to do! People at SIP Broker are happy to provide assistance/advice on setting up your adapter to combine SIP Broker with other services (including other services that can call 911 and/or other emergency numbers). But ultimately, SIP Broker has control over neither your SIP adapter nor any other services you may use on that adapter. So the best that SIP Broker can do in this regard, is to try to provide setup advice that avoids the "known problems" with such combination setups.

But if calling "emergency numbers" from the same VoIP adapter/phone you use with SIP Broker is an "important feature" for you, you need to make sure that your other provider can handle those calls, and that your adapter setup properly routes those calls via your other provider.
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Created by: DracoFelis last modification: Monday 02 of April, 2012 [15:15:50 UTC] by teofeel


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