September 8, 2005
Carriers carrier VoIP Inc. has brought together its relationships with other service providers and call centers to create a private network for 911 calls.
The company, which recently acquired Volo Communications, says the new VoiceOne network meets the FCCs mandate for VoIP providers to offer wireline-like emergency response services.
Shawn Lewis, CTO of VoIP Inc., says the network is private because, through VoIP Inc.s multiple carrier partnerships, it takes VoIP 911 calls off the Internet and places them onto a secure backbone. Also, he adds, We run a mesh network for failure, for redundancy so even if we had a large OC12 that was to fail, we have 30 millisecond failover through other routes through our MPLS backbone.
VoIP Inc. also uses its partner providers PSAP connectivity. In cases where VoIP Inc.s partnerships or network do not reach PSAPs, VoIP 911 calls route to call centers that then connect callers to emergency personnel.
[W]hat weve done is weve set up geographic [points] all around the U.S. So depending on where you are youre going to enter my network at the very closest point it gets you off the Internet as quickly as possible, Lewis explains, adding this also improves call quality. Were going to get you routed direct to where you need to go, no looping back and forth. Lewis says VoIP Inc. also has its own internal selective routers that look at phone numbers and destinations and choose from multiple paths to PSAPs. We have failover [and] we also have call center support, so if there are areas in the U.S. that arent covered by PSAPs, which there are, we can directly send you to a call center to handle the call. VoIP Inc. is relying on its five geographic distribution centers located across the country to keep the VoiceOne network fully redundant. If some kind of disaster disrupts a PoP, 911 calls automatically will go to the next entry point for IP calls. The VoiceOne network then would send the call back to the correct, closest PSAP. If the PSAPs are out of service, then youre going to go to a call center and [it would likely be a bigger issue than any one company could control], Lewis notes. Lewis says VoIP Inc. expects VoiceOne to reach 60 percent of the countrys PSAPs by next month, leaving 40 percent of subscribers whose calls will route to call centers. Speaking of the looming late-November deadline the FCC has imposed for VoIP providers, Lewis says, Theres no realistic way in the world that anybody can build an entire nationwide network for PSAP connectivity in 120 days. Its impossible. So what weve done is weve taken the approach in saying, Okay, rather than try build it all yourself, lets make our partnerships and [put the network] behind them. VoIP Inc.s customers, which include service providers, cable operators and others, can manage the 911 service feature through the VoiceOne Web portal or XML system, almost in real time. Some of the systems capabilities include subscriber-selected SMS and e-mail notification when a 911 call is made; optional 911 call-recording; subscriber verification of 911 service; and network operations center monitoring of all 911 calls made through VoiceOne.
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