TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Will 911 Difficulties Derail VoIP?

Re: Will 911 Difficulties Derail VoIP?
15 May 2005 11:29:15 -0700

AES wrote:

> 1) It seems likely that in the not too distant future telephone
> service will be almost entirely provided by (or thru) VOIP. And,
> there seem to be real technical difficulties -- in particular serious
> "caller location identification" difficulties -- associated with
> providing 911 service to VOIP phones.

What time frame do you mean by "not too distant future"?

Why do you think all telephone service will go over VOIP?

To do so would require every home and business to have broadband
service and the capacity isn't out there to accomodate that.

Many areas are offered broadband, but if _everyone_ used it the trunks
would be flooded and unusuable; indeed, the cable company has some
capacity problems now. Remember, in many places you do not have a
private copper pair from your home/business to the central office --
but at some point your line goes into a modern day 'concentrator/
multiplexor' (or maybe even an old style one), and the consolidated
trunk only has limited capacity. If everyone were to have broadband,
more trunk capacity would be required.

Now the phone companies have been installing more capacity which is
how more people can get DSL with better speeds than the past, and
they're trying out "FIOS" (see other thread). But a broadband
connection, by definition, is "broad" and requires more capacity than
a POTS line.

There's also a heck of a lot of old or very old "drop lines" from the
telephone pole to the subscriber that might suffice for POTS calls but
not for broadband work. Who will pay to upgrade, esp when many
subscribers might not want broadband?

> Therefore I'm trying to envision a future situation (admittedly
> hypothetical at this point) in which telephone service will no longer
> necessarily be directly linked to 911 service ...

I strongly doubt that. Public policy has been completely the opposite
-- to provide universal 911 service and upgrade all services to
provide the enhanced features (911 originally not that sophisticated.)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I would think if it ever got that
critical (where 'everyone' went with VOIP instead of landline) the
VOIP administrators would develop the equivilent of the 'Erlang
tables' in an effort to develop the amount of capacity needed to keep
up with it. Telcos today, or anytime in the past, would never have
been able to keep up if _everyone_ wished to be connected _all_ the

Telcos place their bets on the fact that at any typical time of
day/day of week, _maybe_ one or two percent of their subscribers are
actually using the phone. At 'busy hours' _maybe_ eight or ten percent
of the subscribers are on the phone, in a residential setting at
least, possibly fifteen percent in a business setting. If they develop
capactity to deal with their 'busy hour' they generally have it
made. Why do you feel VOIP would be any different? I cannot imagine
the _ratios_ would be much different than they are now. I understand
eight percent of a small handful is still much less than eight percent
of a nation-full, but I suspect as they need it, they will 'develop'
more capacity in the form of bandwidth. Telco engineers quite familiar
with Erlang can tell you, this is Tuesday, 10 AM, therefore there are
X persons using the phone and be rather accurate in their statement. I
am sure VOIP, as it matures will be the same way. PAT]

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