The majority of the state's emergency call centers now receive 9-1-1 calls from customers whose telephone service relies upon VoIP technology. In a recently released report, the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications provided a status of statewide efforts to provide 9-1-1 service to VoIP telephone subscribers. The CSEC VoIP Deployment Report is available at http://www.911.state.tx.us
VoIP is the term broadly used to describe telephone services that transmit voice communications over a digital data network using Internet
protocol technology. Since VoIP telephony is increasingly being adopted by the public, it is critical that VoIP customers have access to emergency services through dialing 9-1-1.
In June 2005, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order requiring that companies providing interconnected VoIP telephone service also provide their customers with Enhanced 9-1-1, or "E9-1-1". E9-1-1 service means that a 9-1-1 call is routed to the correct answering point along with the caller's telephone number and location information, which greatly improves emergency response effectiveness. In Texas, E9-1-1 is almost universally available on traditional wireline and wireless phones.
Texas has deployed VoIP 9-1-1 service in the majority of the state's 544 answering points. Texas 9-1-1 entities formed a working group with
industry to expedite deployment in response to the FCC's order. According to Paul Mallett, Executive Director of CSEC, the purpose of the group was to document the impact of VoIP telephony on 9-1-1 in Texas and to explore potential solutions to identified problems. "Our agency continues to facilitate and monitor VoIP 9-1-1 deployment in Texas to ensure that VoIP customers have access to 9-1-1 and emergency services," stated Mallett.
CSEC is a state agency charged by the Texas Legislature with oversight of 9-1-1 services in 224 of Texas' 254 counties. CSEC, in cooperation with
the Texas Department of State Health Services, also oversees the Texas Poison Control Network that serves all Texas counties. CSEC's mission is to preserve and enhance public safety and health in Texas through reliable access to emergency telecommunications services. In accomplishing its
mission, CSEC collaborates with regional and local governments and other state agencies to promote stewardship and accountability, set high
standards, and foster efficient emergency telecommunications services.