8x8, Level 3 Deal Adds E911 to VOIP Service
8x8 will use Level 3's (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service to enhance its residential voice-over-IP offering in more than 50 U.S. markets.IP networking company Level 3 Communications Inc. and 8x8 Inc. have announced an agreement to use Level 3s (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service to enhance 8x8s residential voice-over-IP offering in more than 50 U.S. markets. 8x8, an early name in IP voice and videophones, supplies subscribers with its own terminal packetizing adapter, through which regular analog phones can access the residential broadband modem. The Santa Clara, Calif., company also sells its own videophone.
The Level 3 agreement solves the Enhanced 911 part of VOIPs puzzle for 8x8, assuring subscribers that emergency calls from their IP-connected phones will be routed to the correct PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point), typically a local police station. This is not a routing function that VOIP callers can yet take for granted, since IP addresses do not correlate with geographical locations, nor can a cable-carried call, for example, be traced to a specific central office. Instead, the carrier (here, Level 3) must in some way maintain a current database of subscriber locations. The location fields of this data base (Apartment 3G, 123 Elm St.) must be referenced and sent to the PSAP should 911 be dialed.