Example companies involved in the area The first company that comes to mind when we talk about VOIP is Vonage. Like phone companies, Vonage offers phone service. However, Vonage performs this service over your existing internet connection. They will give you any number from any state you wish and even give you fake numbers called virtual phone numbers for an extra five dollars a month. They offer all the same features as a regular phone service with some extras such as auto forwarding when your connection goes down. Vonage also offers a real nice voicemail system where you can setup voicemail to be sent to your email account or have your cell phone alerted when someone calls you and leaves a message.
The one thing that does not happen is the 911 service. Vonage routes your call to the Public Service Answering Point (PSAP), which provides emergency services in your area. The appropriate PSAP is determined by the physical address you supplied when you configured 911 on your web account. Therefore, if Vonage does not have the correct address, your call cannot be routed to the corresponding PSAP for your area.
Another difference between Vonage 911 Dialing service and traditional 911 service is that the Vonage call will be routed to the PSAP's general access line, which is different from the 911 Emergency Response Center. You will need to state the nature of your emergency promptly and clearly, including your location and telephone number, as PSAP personnel will not have this information at hand. PSAP personnel can help you effectively and will take necessary steps to provide you with the appropriate assistance, such as dispatching police, an ambulance and / or a fire truck. A second company involved in this area is Avaya. Avaya, unlike Vonage, is a telecommunications company. They do not offer you the service from there company but rather offer you the equipment to provide the service to others or yourself.
Their first major attempt at this is using a current product called IP Office. The IP Office solution is made for the small business environment in which you can layout just a couple pf phones and some Avaya switches that all communicate using VOIP on Ethernet cables. The new digital phones that come with the system use an LCD type display which can log calls and change pages at the push of a button. Phones can be logged in or out at random locations to be moved anywhere within the office.
Management of the system itself can be done over a web browser or you can use the software that comes with the system. The IP Office system may not be rich in features but it can provide many of the same comforts as a regular phone system. These days Avaya has also changed their PBX boxes to include a lot of the VOIP options with all those nice features they had with their previous G 3 systems. Regulatory issues surrounding the area VOIP is a nice thing to have but what about regulating the use of it? There are many people including the FCC who are starting to see the trend in VOIP starting to rise. The question is do you treat companies like Vonage the same as a phone company even though they are really connecting via SIP? These questions and many more go unanswered every day. The first main concern just like most things internet based is what about the taxes or regulatory fees? Most phone companies have to pay some sort of regulatory fee in order to have phone service throughout the country.
Vonage has started charging for this fee to avoid any criticism from the public according to some sources. The problem lies in the fact that it is not required and another company could come along and out bid Vonage because of this fact. When it comes to taxes individual states are trying to pass laws where a person must pay the taxes due for that state based on the service from a company like Vonage. The one problem foreseen is the increase of cost to include taxes but also the increase in cost if they are required to provide paper billing. These VOIP companies do everything email and internet based so they can keep the cost of service low. If one thing changes then everything changes.
One thing that most people can agree on is the fact that there needs to be some type of 911 services. Where your local company dials 911 emergency services the VOIP companies can't do that directly and there are certain circumstances to make sure you get the right area. Law makers are trying to regulate this part so it will keep families safe while trying to save a few pennies. In general the FCC sees the VOIP companies using three methods in order to connect people together.
They will try to focus their efforts on separating and regulating each one separately. Regulate phone switch usage while letting peer to peer systems work like internet based instant messaging.