back to article 999 comes to VoIP

Ofcom, the UK regulator, has decreed that VoIP services are going to have to connect 999 calls to the emergency services, though not until September 2008. VoIP services have been improving in quality and usability to the point where many are indistinguishable from the traditional phone service, depending on the bandwidth …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    nasty shock

    "36 per cent of UK households with a VoIP service couldn't access the emergency services, though most of them were unaware of it."

    lol. They'd get a rude awakening when they'd just cut off their hand with a power saw.

    Also goes to show that buying that router with the QOS might be a good investment.

  2. Mage


    A router with QOS won't solve QOS on the internet. That is why VOIP from your own ISP, preferably cable (built into modem) can be a lot better. Cable ISPs typically have a separate IP for the ATA and QOS on their network for the VOIP. See Cable Labs spec.

    If you use 3rd party VOIP there is no QOS.

    3rd party VOIP vendors are doomed anyhow,

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    At last, my masterplan can proceed, almost.

    When I buy a house, it will get the following:

    Sky+ Telly.

    Virgin Media Broadband.

    A WiFi Skype Handset, possibly flashed to run another service, or left on skype.

    Then when Sky think of a better way for their boxes to call home, I can ditch the BT line.

  4. Shaun
    Paris Hilton

    Hoax Calls?

    How exactly are the emergency services expected to chase hoax callers if they're potentially anywhere in the world?

  5. Gareth

    Porn burned my house down

    "Also goes to show that buying that router with the QOS might be a good investment."

    Good point, you don't want your house to burn down because you're porn torrents stopped you calling the fire brigade!

  6. Martin Saunders

    re: nasty shock

    "Also goes to show that buying that router with the QOS might be a good investment."

    The ISP also needs to support traffic prioritisation, as the router can only influence the flow of traffic in the upstream direction.

  7. Jon Thorne

    How do you know

    So how to you test that you have this service without getting a criminal record in the process???

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh fun...

    Lets also remember that a VoIP phone is pretty useless if for whatever reason the power is gone.

    Remember phones are powered from the exchange (well, simple ones are..lets not get into the business of wireless answering machines), whereas a VoIP phone relies on your router being up and running for a start. Thus, dialing the firebrigade to tell them your router has caught fire and now your house is burning down is rather impossible.....

  9. Chris Hembrow
    Thumb Up

    Mobile Phones

    I use VOIP for most of my calls (still have BT because I can't get cable :( ). In the event of a power cut though, I'd just use one of the 3 mobiles we've got, the odds of them all being out of power is pretty low.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    old news

    I was Trained on this at BT over 7 years ago

    they had system in place for longtime

  11. Christopher Woods

    About time for home UPSes to make an impact?

    All this talk of VoIP and emergency calls makes me think of availability (and, as some have said, how you can't generally use VoIP phones when the power's out). Why not solve this problem with a solution readily available? For example, my parents are slightly ahead of the curve in that they have a UPS just for their DSL router, Dad's two SANs and our DECT base station. It's one of those little APC units with three-pin sockets (four battery backup, four surge protected only). I also have a UPS but it's IEC-style connectors for me, I don't have a VoIP phone yet anyway.

    We have five of them at work though, and I keep on trying to persuade my boss to invest in a couple of UPSes - he won't for the time being. UPSes should be offered as part of a home voice package in my opinion, it's safer, effectively adds insurance to your electronic kit and is just a good thing to have, so if they don't cost much these days why doesn't an ISP take the reins on this one and start to recommend them for anybody who's buying a VoIP system (or just buying new internet kit?)

  12. James Taylor
    IT Angle


    Downloading the latest bittorrent? The mind positively boggles at what the hell this is really supposed to mean.

    Grandad, have you been writing for The Register now?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    call monitoring

    Wasn't one of the reasons that the USA has started to mandate 911 availability on VoIP style systems (similar to 112 in the UK/EU and historically 999); that it then conveniently ties the VoIP network to a central switching service from whence packet duplication i.e lawful interception monitoring, is then able to take place.

    Would SIS care to comment?

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Greg Scullard

    Rude awakenings

    "They'd get a rude awakening when they'd just cut off their hand with a power saw."

    Assuming that hasn't resulted in the power tripping, in which case, no DSL router, no broadband, hence no VOIP....

  16. Jon G

    Get Real !

    Is anyone seriously going to p*ss about with voip if there house is burning down ?

  17. P. Kelsay
    Black Helicopters

    Vonage 911

    One could register an address as their 911-response address when using Vonage. There was, of course, a lengthy disclaimer to go through when committing to the address.

    Mobiles for emergency calls seem a bit trickier, though what am I really worried about? That's how the government tracks my every move anyway...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Not a big problem...

    Chances are, I'd get my mobile out of my pocket anyway. I don't instinctively pick up a DECT phone on the VOIP system unless I want to make a national/international call for a long period (heck, the only person who calls our landline is my mother!).

    Sure, I can see the concerns, but VOIP users should be bright enough to know better. It's the other members of the household I worry about - for example, my girlfriend is content with the fact our landline goes over the internet, but not that it might not be able to reach 999.

    The wider the availability the better, I'd have thought.

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