AT&T launched an e911 service for its CallVantage VoIP customers who are using the service from remote locations. The service, called Heartbeat, suspends VoIP customers' service when they power down their VoIP adapters. When the user plugs back into the network, Heartbeat asks the user to verify their new location. Service will be instantly restored for users who indicate they haven't moved, while those who have will be directed to an 800 number or a Web site to register their new location. The FCC's most recent deadline for service providers to make their VoIP units 911-capable is November 28.
AT&T's VoIP 911 solution isn't perfect, however, and AT&T admits it. The company has no way to verify if a customer tells the truth about changing locations. Also, the solution relies on the user to provide the information, which seems counterintuitive for those in an emergency situation who might not have the time or the ability to verify their location.
For more on At&T's new VoIP 911 solution:
- see this article from USA TODAY