Wholesale voice and data communications provider, Entanet, has launched a new white label website through which its customers can provide location information to the emergency services, supporting Ofcom’s recent extension of General Condition 4 to VoIP services.
Ofcom requires all PSTN, mobile and now VoIP providers to provide address information to the emergency services, so that a caller’s location can be easily identified and help can be sent to the right address. However, the flexible nature of VoIP makes this a more complex challenge. Unlike a traditional telephone service, a VoIP service can be used anywhere and easily transferred from one location to another. This effectively hides the true location of the customer. While this is often a useful selling point of a VoIP service, it also causes a potentially dangerous situation for the emergency services.
Entanet has provided an ingenious solution to this problem by developing a new website, which can be found at www.999-location.co.uk. Entanet’s resellers’ customers can log into the site using their VoIP account username and password and provide details of the locations for each of the VoIP numbers that they have. If they change the location of the service in the future, they can easily update this via the website, which then provides this information directly to the emergency services. Users can set up periodic reminders to ensure the locations they set remain current.
In keeping with its position as a wholesale provider, Entanet has made the website brand neutral. This enables reseller partners to direct their own customers to the site and provide their location information without compromising their own VoIP branding.
To ensure end users fully understand the importance of this situation, Entanet has produced a light hearted yet informative cartoon which can be viewed from the website and also via YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/entamedian?feature=mhum).
Commenting on the new website, Entanet’s Voice Technical Lead, Jon Farmer, said: “The issue of accurately providing location information to the emergency services for VoIP services has been in discussion for quite some time, due to the flexible nature of VoIP and the complexities this causes. Unlike traditional and mobile services, where the emphasis is placed on the provider to pass on the address details to the emergency services, this is not a plausible solution for VoIP as location information can change so frequently. Therefore we believe that an easy-to-use website is currently the best approach to ensuring this data is accurate, especially with an informative and light hearted video to explain the potential severity of the issue.”
Entanet has worked closely with Ofcom to develop this process and to ensure it is as simple to use as possible for VoIP customers. Farmer adds: “We have been keen to liaise with Ofcom throughout the development of this platform to ensure the system achieves the important objectives set out by Ofcom and remains easy to use for customers. We believe this process achieves both of these goals and hope that other VoIP providers will soon follow suite with similar customer friendly solutions.”