Ofcom wants reverse VoIP tracing for emergency services


June 17, 2009

As more emergency 999 calls are now being made from VoIP hardware gadgets, phone companies are becoming more concerned with how the calls can be traced.

While VoIP calls still account for only a small percentage of 999 calls in the UK, they have increased by over ten times over the last eighteen months and if they continue to increase at the current rate they will be a cause for concern.

As many people in emergency situations are not able to state their location, or speak when the call for aid is made, a solution for tracing VoIP phone calls needs to be developed as the services grow more popular.

The fact that VoIP calls can be made from any area with a broadband connection makes it hard for emergency response teams to determine where to head, which can delay rescue efforts that obviously need a fast response.

In order to create a solution, VoIP providers and ISPs would have to provide information to each other and work together in what can potentially be a very expensive venture, which may make it impossible for some ISP providers to provide reverse tracing options.

To emergency response teams this is not acceptable.

Some of the price may be absorbed by Ofcom however, which has made the comment that while providers may not always be the VoIP providing source, they are obliged by law to provide emergency data if they have access to the information, which may help the progress towards an affordable VoIP tracing solution.






 

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