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VoIP E911 challenges: and the Master Street Address Guide

If you think that VoIP E911 is "here," and that most of the problems have been solved, you really need to read my colleague Anne Broache's piece entitled Net phone providers describe E911 obstacles.On the scene this week at a suburban D.
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Written by Russell Shaw on
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If you think that VoIP E911 is "here," and that most of the problems have been solved, you really need to read my colleague Anne Broache's piece entitled Net phone providers describe E911 obstacles.

On the scene this week at a suburban D.C. conference sponsored by the National Emergency Number Association, Anne points out some of the real problems. 

Start with something called the Master Street Address Guide, which is supposed to store a 911 dialer's location info.

The MSAG is only as intuitive as the information fed to it- information which may or may not be reliable.

"Because in many cases it's up to Net phone users to update that address," Anne writes, it 'can be whatever the subscriber believes their address to be, and those of you who have been involved in 911 for a while know that's not necessarily an accurate' descriptor, said Roger Hixson, NENA's technical issues director. 

Anne then adds her spot-on impression that Net phone providers, telecommunications companies that own the 911 infrastructure, public safety operators and administrators,and call-routing vendors aren't exactly on the same page.

"There was really noguidance or guidelines given to us," she quotes Steve O'Conor of the Brevard County, Fla. Board of Commissioners.

Readers, keep in mind that these obstacles exist when the user is in a fixed, on-record location. You've already been reading my take on the illusion of nomadic E911. But after reading this post, you may agree with me that when it comes to even regular (i.e., non-nomadic) VoIP E911, we have a long way to go. 

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