In an emergency situation, such as the ones first responders encounter on a daily basis, nothing is more critical than accessing superior communication, voice quality, and coverage. Many of the nation's first responders are now leveraging VoIP to enhance their communication and ability to respond more rapidly to calls. VoIP resellers have a responsibility to ensure they meet all FCC requirements for people's ability to access unimpeded 911 services.
First responders need seamless communication to respond quickly to calls.
How are First Responders Using VoIP?
Many first responders are utilizing VoIP services in addition to their regular phone networks. The radios utilized by first responders present a number of limitations. They often rely on radios that operate on different frequencies than local power companies or organizations outside of their jurisdiction. This results in communication difficulties as the radios are not interoperable with each other. There are also bound to be situations that arise where first responders need to communicate with people in other jurisdictions. They need a solution that can meet all of their communication needs and won't be restricted by interoperability issues.
VoIP can solve these problems easily. With an Internet-based phone network, they can access their entire network on all of their devices, while easily communicating with people outside of their jurisdiction that are using different radio frequencies. VoIP offers a cost-effective solution, minimizing the budget constraints of many public services. Additionally, VoIP makes first responders more accessible by the public. The FCC passed regulations ensuring all VoIP providers offer automatic 911 VoIP services to clients, so all VoIP-connected customers can contact 911 from any of their devices easily, while ensuring their geographical location is accurately tracked.
VoIP eliminates interoperability problems, enabling better coverage.
What Responsibility Do VoIP Resellers Have Regarding 911 VoIP?
As of 2005, the FCC began requiring all VoIP providers to offer 911 services automatically to their clients. This means that, for all business VoIP and personal VoIP clients, you need to ensure 911 services are available. It is mandatory that this feature be offered as standard, without the request of the client. Clients, however, can choose to opt out of the service if desired.
Your responsibilities include the following:
- You must ensure all of your clients are aware of the 911 service and how it's utilized.
- All 911 calls have to be routed to a Public-Safety Answering Point (PSAP). This includes transmitting the caller's geographical location as well as their phone number.
- You need to make all clients aware of the differences between 911 VoIP services and traditional 911 services, as well as disclosing any limitations in the service you provide.
The nation's first responders dedicate their lives to helping those in need. In order to respond to emergencies effectively, they need to access unimpeded communication with others, regardless of jurisdiction. VoIP makes it easier to connect remote first responders to people outside of their jurisdiction, creating a safer society where emergency response teams can answer to calls more quickly. In addition, VoIP providers have a responsibility to ensure all of their clients have access and are fully informed about the 911 VoIP that comes with their service.