TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox Warns Consumers of Voice

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox Warns Consumers of Voice

Jack Decker (jack-yahoogroups@withheld)
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 11:35:42 -0400

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox Warns Consumers of Voice Over the
Internet Technology Limitations

Cox Concerned About Lack of 9-1-1 Coverage

LANSING, Mich., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney General Mike Cox
advised consumers today about possible limitations regarding "Voice
Over the Internet," or VoIP, technology. Advertised in Michigan, VoIP
technology may not offer access to 9-1-1 emergency services.

"While VoIP may offer less expensive telephone service, consumers
should be seriously concerned about the possible risks of not having
access to 9-1-1 emergency services," Cox said.

"I encourage every Michigan consumer to become informed about this new
technology and the important differences between it and traditional
telephone service, especially in regards to proper access to the 9-1-1
emergency system." VoIP technology allows consumers to make telephone
calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular
telephone line.

Some VoIP services do not provide access to emergency 9-1-1. A
Consumer Alert detailing Cox's concerns is available at the Attorney
General's Web site, . "If the advertising,
brochure, or other marketing materials are silent on this issue, it is
likely that 9-1-1 is not being provided," Cox said. Even for those
companies that do provide 9-1-1 service, it may not be the full
service on which consumers rely.

For example, the landline telephone system automatically provides
9-1-1 operators with the caller's location, while the VoIP service may
not. Landline telephone systems also route 9-1-1 calls through
emergency phone lines while VoIP may route these calls to a general
call center. Even when the VoIP service includes traditional 9-1-1
access, it may not be automatically activated and consumers must take
proactive steps in order to place a 9-1-1 call.

If you are a VoIP subscriber:

* Verify that you can access 9-1-1 with your telephone by checking
your VoIP provider's Web site. DO NOT dial 9-1-1 to test your access
to the emergency response network.

* Be sure to activate the emergency calling feature of your
service plan, if applicable.

* If the power is out, your VoIP service may be out, too. Consider
purchasing a back up power supply.

* Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP
service and relevant limitations.

* Consider keeping a landline telephone to access 9-1-1 emergency

Consumers with a questions or a complaint about VoIP may contact
the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division toll-free at
1-877-765-8388, by writing to P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909, or by
visiting .

The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public
of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide
information and guidance on other issues of concern.

SOURCE Michigan Attorney General Web Site:

How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home:

If you live in Michigan, subscribe to the MI-Telecom group:

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