King County’s Education Campaign on VoIP and E911
I was looking in a recent issue of Computer Source Magazine, a Seattle tech publication. There was an ad in there from King County (Seattle is in King County), which explains that NOT ALL VoIP/Broadband Phone carriers provide full access to Enhanced 9-1-1 service. The first page of the linked PDF was in the magazine, my guess is the rest is part of a brochure that you can pick up from somewhere. There is also an information website regarding VoIP and E911 that King County has put together.
A good old-fashioned education campaign is a far cry from that place in Texas that sued Vonage for not having proper 911 service. However, there is at least one error in their education campaign.
As far as I know, 911 calls from Wireless phones do not always go to the right place as they claim they do on this site. They may in King County, or they may in other areas in western Washington, but I wouldn’t bet on it either. I’ve also heard stories of landline 911 calls not getting routed to the right place either, though I think those were mostly in the Eastern US. Granted, landlines are generally viewed as having more reliable 911 service, and mobile phones come in second, but let’s be honest.
The other error is the funding source for VoIP/Broadband 911. While they are right, the governments aren’t allowed to assess a 911 tax on VoIP lines, there are other ways of getting that money that do not involve taxing the VoIP service, as they seem to suggest. Instead of making every VoIP telephone service provider comply with thousands of different tax structures and rules, the 911 tax (or whatever is called) should be taxed at the entry point to the network, i.e. at the company who provides the pipe to your house. In most cases, this means either the local telco or the cable company. They already have to collect taxes for the government, what’s one more?