You could face a dangerous problem if you use the internet for phone service. It may save you money, but what happens in a 9-1-1 type emergency?
A case in point right is in Colorado. For months, the Morgan County 9-1-1 lines have been ringing with emergency calls but they weren't just coming from Fort Morgan, Colorado and the surrounding area. They were coming from places like Florida, Missouri and Georgia.
One example was a call from a woman from Winder, Georgia who dialed 9-1-1 with an emergency involving her baby. She reached a Colorado dispatcher and not her own area dispatcher. The Colorado dispatchers hurriedly track down emergency services for her city. That was just one example of some 30 emergency calls Morgan County says they should not have received.
Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP may be the problem. It looks like and sounds like a regular phone but the calls are routed over the internet.
Many companies issue warnings to customers about the service such as: phone service may not operate in a power outage; you will have to re-register your phone's location when traveling; your address may not automatically appear on 911 call center screens.
VOIP is growing in popularity in large part because it's often cheaper.
But the risk with the 9-1-1 service is something to consider.
Meanwhile, the problem that was sending the calls from all over the country to Morgan County has now been fixed. But it might serve as a wake up call for those who use internet phone service to check the warnings that come with it.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.