Comcast Fiber to the Node

Corey Edwards tensai at
Tue Mar 9 12:59:20 MST 2010

Doran L. Barton wrote:
> On Monday 08 March 2010, Michael Torrie proclaimed:
>> One of my VoIP providers has you register a physical address with your
>> phone number which should make response to 911 calls about the same as
>> normal land lines.
> I hope someday the response time for emergency cell/VOIP calls gets to be the 
> same or better than landline calls. But, for now, when you call 911 from a 
> cell phone or VOIP phone, your call gets routed to a service provided by your 
> phone carrier who then confirms your location, possibly using an E911 location 
> database populated with physical address information you've provided in the 
> past, and then routes the call to the appropriate local dispatch facility. 
> Thats one to two extra "hops" compared to calling 911 via a landline.

There was a time when this was true. Some VoIP carriers would even route
911 calls to the non-emergency number of dispatch. It was a mess and
everybody was pointing fingers. Then the FCC stepped in and mandated
that VoIP carriers offer E911 and that ILECs let them. There was some
concern that the mandate would negatively impact VoIP providers but it
doesn't seem to have. It all works pretty smoothly now.

> This is why when you're setting up an Asterisk PBX, it's advisable to have at 
> least a single POTS line for backup and 911 calls even if you're running the 
> majority of your traffic over SIP or IAX.

There are reasons for maintaining a POTS line, despite the reliability
of the 911 system. Mainly they hinge on your ability to get the call to
your provider in the first place. If your PBX goes belly up. If your
power goes out and you don't have a UPS. If you hose your dialplan. If a
dog chews through your ethernet cable (quite tasty I hear). If those are
valid concerns for you, by all means hang onto a land line.


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