TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: PSAP Locations, was: Texas Sues Vonage Over 911 Problem

PSAP Locations, was: Texas Sues Vonage Over 911 Problem

Danny Burstein (
Thu, 24 Mar 2005 23:26:32 UTC

( PSAP = Public Safety Answering Point = the 911 centers )

In <> writes:

> The states in my area allow a 911 fee to be tacked on to phone
> bills. The money goes to the run the 911 call centers.

And there's a Santa Clause.

> IIRC, it was previously discussed here the VOIP fails to send the
> calling number for Caller ID displays, so the recipient gets a
> meaningless 111-111-1111 display.

Many, and soon just about all, VOIP phones send across the Caller ID
string associated with the account. The fact that (many) PSAPs can't
use regular consumer CNID and do a comparison/sanity check against
both the ANI string and the "911" caller info is due to their own
equipment limitations.

(This is separate from the very real issue of the small number of folk
who'd get a VOIP account in Lenexa, Ks, and then take the adapter with
them and make calls that are physically coming from Uzbekistan)

> As to the editor's comments, there are conventional phone numbers that
> will reach the emergency center and will be answered (at least in my
> area). But how would a VOIP know what number to use, esp when the
> caller can "float" and be anywhere? Further, such numbers change when
> area codes change or for other reasons; that was a factor in
> establishing "911" as a unified constant emergency number in the first
> place.

Conveniently enough, the FCC maintains a list of PSAPs:

"Information regarding PSAP ID, PSAP Name, and PSAP County can be
obtained from the FCC's Master PSAP Registry. The following
state listings have been updated: Arizona, Arkansas, California,
(etc., etc., and so forth)."

So it would be trivial for the VOIP folk to do a translation of all
calls placed to "911" and route them to the PSAP serving the
registered "home" of the customer.

Now in regards to figuring out the exact boundaries, well, isn't it
about time the local gov'ts got their acts together? In many parts of
the country you'll find little or no coterminality between, oh,
sanitation services, postal zip codes, water supply, fire protection,
school districts, and police coverage. Now whose fault is that?

As a side note, wouldn't it be nice if the Feds got together and had a
_central_, national, number for help? One that got a little office in,
say, Cheyenne and had tie lines to every 911 PSAP?

Right now, for example, if I'm in East Cupcake, NY and on the phone
with a friend of mine in Walla Walla and he collapses onto the floor,
how am I supposed to get him help? Watcha wanna bet that if I called
my local PSAP they wouldn't have a clue?

With a central office (at least available to the PSAPs, but really should
be open to all) life would be much simpler.

Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]

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