VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination. VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP enabled phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. In addition, wireless "hot spots" in locations such as airports, parks, and cafes allow you to connect to the Internet and may also enable you to use a VoIP service wirelessly.
Local VoIP Call/Fixed Address where a VoIP customer places a call from a fixed location within an ILEC-defined exchange area (incumbent local exchange carrier) and with a telephone number corresponding to that exchange. If the ALI (automatic location identification) database is populated with the customer's information and the ANI(automatic number identification) is provided to the PSAP(Public Safety Answering Point) then the 9-1-1 service will operate in the same manner as it does today (i.e., with traditional wire line service).
Foreign Exchange (FX) VoIP Call/Fixed Address where a customer places a call from a fixed location outside of the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) boundary normally served by the customer's telephone number. The VoIP service provider utilizes an IP network or the Internet to carry the call from the customer's calling location to the exchange corresponding to the customer's telephone. In this scenario, conventional 9-1-1 service would not function correctly because the call may not be routed to the appropriate PSAP.
Nomadic VoIP Calls where the VoIP customer does not make calls from a fixed location. In this scenario, calls can be made from anywhere that the customer has access to a broadband Internet service and the appropriate software or hardware to use that service. 9-1-1 services would not work.
If you're considering replacing your traditional telephone service with VoIP, there are some facts you need to know:
Traditional phone services associate a particular phone number with a fixed address. Portable interconnected VoIP service enables consumers to take their home or business phone service almost anywhere. Because certain interconnected VoIP services can be used from virtually any Internet connection, the location of the caller cannot automatically be determined. This portability raises a number of challenges for 9-1-1 first responders.
When you call 9-1-1 from a traditional telephone, the call, in most cases, is sent to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) that is responsible for helping people in a particular geographic area or community. PSAP personnel often can automatically identify your location and direct the closest emergency personnel to that location. They can also automatically identify your telephone number and can call you back if you are disconnected.
Because VoIP service works differently from traditional phone service, consumers who use it should be aware that VoIP 9-1-1 call services have significant disadvantages:
To reduce these differences and any possible risks to the public safety posed by interconnected VoIP 9-1-1 service, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) has imposed notification obligations on local VOIP Service Providers. For more detailed information the obligations of local VOIP service providers, please visit http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/INFO_SHT/t1052.htm
If you have or are thinking of subscribing to an interconnected VoIP service, you should: