Vonage CEO: E911 deployment challenges steep

Vonage CEO Jeff Citron tells XChange magazine that he does not think VoIP service providers will be able to meet the 120-day E911 availability deadline set by the FCC last month.The September 17 deadline will be impossible to meet, Citron says, largely because of the enormity of the task.

Vonage CEO Jeff Citron tells XChange magazine that he does not think VoIP service providers will be able to meet the 120-day E911 availability deadline set by the FCC last month.

The September 17 deadline will be impossible to meet, Citron says, largely because of the enormity of the task. He outlines what's ahead: hooking Vonage up to some 6,000 Public Safety Answering Points where calls are routed up to emergency dispatchers; establishing efficient ways to hook up rural customers who aren't even on basic E911 without too much financial strain for each deployment; and establishing relationships with rural phone companies, most of which are strangers to Vonage- and vice versa. Noting that he's on board with the concept of E911 rollout, Citron adds that the process really needs more guidance from the FCC.

.."'how do you deal with the hundreds and hundreds of issues that are coming up now?,'" he asks of XChange magazine's Charlotte Walker. "'People are saying that there are roadblocks and problems that the commission will have to address. It is going to be a difficult task, and we need guidance as an industry.'”

Citron adds that because of the 120-day ruling, this pace of E911 deployment will be much faster - and presumably a steeper challenge -for VoIP than it has been for landline or cell. "'After 30 years of development of the E911 system, only 93 percent of (landline) consumers have E911 wired,'" he points out.

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