Verizon Identifies Solution Enabling VoIP Companies to Connect to E 911 Emergency Calling System

NEW YORK - Verizon will provide Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) service providers and their vendors the ability to use Verizon's Enhanced 911 emergency calling system to connect VoIP customer 911 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

"Working with VoIP companies and their vendors, we have identified a means to route VoIP calls so that they appear in emergency response centers much the way wireline and wireless 911 calls do," said Michael O'Connor, executive director of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon.

The E 911 system directs a 911 caller to the appropriate local government emergency response center, known as a Public Safety Answering Point. The call travels over a dedicated network and automatically provides the PSAP operator with the name and address associated with the caller's telephone number. This information, which the operator receives almost instantaneously, allows public safety officials to dispatch help quickly, when seconds count. Automatic location information is especially helpful if the caller is unable to speak or drops off the line. Currently, most VoIP emergency-service offerings do not provide the emergency response center with name, address or callback number.

Verizon expects that by this summer, VoIP providers and their vendors will be able to provide their customers in New York City with E 911 service. If the New York City model is successful, it will be replicated in other locations.

Initially, only wireline carriers connected directly to the E 911 system. Subsequently, wireless carriers were connected.

"With the recent and rapid growth of VoIP service, we needed to find a way to integrate VoIP providers into the E 911 system in a manner that would reliably serve VoIP end-users and that at the same time would not compromise the safety and reliability of the E 911 system for other users," said O'Connor. "After discussions with VoIP providers and the emergency services community, we believe that we have identified an arrangement that meets the needs of both groups and enables VoIP providers to offer their customers significantly better 911 services than they receive today.

"And, unlike proposals previously made by the VoIP community, the arrangement does not introduce new types of security vulnerabilities to the E 911 system."

O'Connor stressed that even after VoIP providers get access to the E 911 system, VoIP providers and VoIP customers will still need to provide up-to-date location information to ensure that the 911 call is routed to the appropriate PSAP. If a VoIP customer does not update his or her service location, the 911 call will not reach the appropriate PSAP.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.