Lee County Public Safety Answering Point #7156
VoIP = Voice over Internet Protocol
The emergence of Voice over Internet Protocol or Voip is an exciting new technology, in its infancy, that allows a person to use their existing broadband Internet connection for their phone service both local and long distance. In some instances Voip service is provided at a cheaper cost than traditional land line based phone service. Voip service is a subscription service that requires the home user to pay in order to utilize the service. Voip service is expected to grow rapidly as the service becomes available and recognizable to the end user.
Voip service does provide a economic service for the consumer. However it does provide significant challenges to a 911 center. The main issue is when you dial 911 on a Voip capable phone the call may not work at all or your call would be routed across the Internet and it is unknown where the call will end up. Also no Location information is provided on these phones at this time. So if you call 911 whomever answers the phone will not know where you are calling from. Any phone that is Voip capable can be moved from address to address and used without the traditional requirement of notifying the local telephone company. This means that if you have Voip service at your house and you decide to move then you simply set your phone up at your new house and then use it. So as you can see pinpointing the exact location of the emergency can be extremely difficult and next to impossible for the 911 center.
Anyone who decides to utilize a Voip service needs to make sure that when they sign up for this service that their service carrier can provide a local number for their appropriate 911 center and make sure that the 911 center will accept Voip calls. And it is crucial that the Voip subscriber making the call can get through to their local 911 center whenever they have an emergency.