Verizon Communications Inc. announced today it will give VoIP service providers and their vendors the ability to use Verizons Enhanced 911 emergency calling system to connect VoIP customer 911 calls to public-safety answering points (PSAPs), the company said in a statement.
Details of how such a service would work were sketchy, but a Verizon press release said the company, working with VoIP providers, had identified a means to route VoIP calls so that they appear in emergency response centers much the way wireline and wireless 911 calls do.
Verizon plans to introduce the capability first in New York City this summer. If the New York City deployment is successful, the company says it will be replicated in other locations.
A Verizon spokesperson said, As we get a little closer to summer we will be able to … get more details on precisely how it is done. He added, We are completing development. If it were totally done, we would be cutting it over now. We will be testing between now and this summer in New York City.
New York is the area where Verizon is involved in a competitive battle with the local cable operator, Cablevision Systems Corp., which has been marketing low-cost bundles of VoIP, video and high-speed data. A Cablevision spokesperson, who did not know of the Verizon announcement, said E911 has been a key element of the companys service since its launch.
A Verizon statement noted the system was developed after discussions with VoIP providers and the emergency services community, though it did not identify the providers.
The system still will depend on VoIP subscribers providing up-to-date information about their locations and call-back numbers for a database maintained by the VoIP operator.
The Verizon spokesperson said, The agenda here is to recognize a problem, a gap, and to have a standard collaborative solution, and we feel we are there.
A spokesperson for the New York Public Service Commission, which regulates telecommunication in the state, said the commission was actively involved in the effort with Verizon and the VoIP providers.