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VoIP E911 Problem Solved Just in Time to Meet The FCC Order

On May 19, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission took steps to protect consumers by requiring that certain providers of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service supply enhanced 911 (E911) emergency calling capabilities to their customers as a mandatory feature of the service. Interconnected VoIP providers must comply with these requirements, and submit to the Commission a letter detailing such compliance, no later than 120 days after the effective date of the Order. Finally, the Commission stated its intention to adopt an advanced E911 solution that includes a method for determining the customer's location without the customer having to self report this information.

A group in Dallas, Texas has developed a breakthrough solution to the FCC's Order that is in testing and recently received a notice of issuance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for patent application number 20040140928. This is the only patent known to have ever been issued by the USPTO covering 911 in the VoIP market and solves the biggest problem in providing VoIP 911 services. This problem centers around the mobile or nomadic user whose location is very difficult to pinpoint for emergency dispatch.

The patent covers a system, a method, an apparatus, and software that handles an emergency IP request using an IP enabled device having Global Positioning System (GPS) capability. If emergency criteria are satisfied, global positioning data is obtained using the GPS capability and the emergency IP request is sent, local emergency services data based on the global positioning data is obtained, a call center station based on the local emergency services data is dialed, and an emergency call from the IP enabled device to the call center station is passed.

In a June, 2005 article in Billing World and OSS Today - Regulatory Watch: VoIP Providers must Provide E911 Function, Even for Vacationing Subs, it is pointed out that VoIP providers that fail to meet the FCC's requirements within 120 days, "won't be allowed to provide service in the United States." The article further attributes comments to executives at both Level 3 Communications and Intrado stating that GPS technology attached to VoIP phones is a solution to this problem, and that, "a number of smart people in the industry are trying to find ways to integrate GPS or some other unique identifier so location can be determined in real time, without the customer having to notify the VoIP provider through a phone call or Web portal."

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin stated that a VoIP 911 solution was "a matter of life and death." This group has the most cost effective, most precise and the only patented VoIP 911 solution.