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Islanders should update home address when using IP telephony


June 8, 2008
By Alyssa Dalton

The provincial Office of Public Safety in Charlottetown, P.E.I., is advising Islanders who subscribe to an Internet-based telephone service to ensure the appropriate service will be available in an emergency.

“Access
to traditional 911 service may be compromised when using a VoIP
telephone service,” said Larry Avery, Provincial Coordinator for 911.
“We want to encourage consumers to fully understand any traditional 911
access limitations that a VoIP service may have.”




Emergency
calls made on land lines are answered by local 911 operators and
automatically have addresses and phone numbers attached to them, making
it easier to dispatch an ambulance or other emergency vehicle. However,
911 calls made with VoIP may be transferred to an out-of-province call
centre, and cannot be automatically tracked because there is no
physical address linked to the signal.




With
traditional land-line telephone service, your address is automatically
updated when you move, but when using a VoIP system, Avery cautions,
“it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure the address
registered with the service provider is accurate and current”.
Therefore, when a caller is unable to speak—or if the call is
disconnected—the operator may not have the required location
information.




Power
failure or disrupted Internet connection can also disconnect access to
911 service. Avery suggests Island VoIP customers should find out how
their provider suggests emergency calls will be handled during an
Internet or power outage.




For additional information, CLICK HERE to access the 2005 CRTC decision on 911 emergency services for VoIP service providers.