About Tom Evslin

Video Profile of Tom Evslin

Follow Tom Evslin on Twitter


subscribe:

Add to Technorati Favorites!
Powered by TypePad
Member since 01/2005

technorati


« The Fax Will Make Them Free | Main | The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong: The US Doesn’t Have Competitive Telecom »

Will at&t Voicemail Work in an Emergency?

According to a survey of Gulf Coast residents commissioned by at&t, the most desired technology during a natural disaster is a voice mailbox (54% of respondents). However, at&t apparently doesn’t have confidence in its own ability to keep existing voicemail working in a catastrophe. 

It would be nice if at&t would listen to these hurricane survivors and stop opposing the petition that Jeff Pulver and I filed with the FCC requiring that voice mail be available on all landlines during a disaster.  But don’t hold your breath. 

The press release announcing the survey results has a long list of things people ought to do to get ready for a disaster.  #2 says:

“Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario. During natural disasters, such as hurricanes or flooding, wireline services can be interrupted for extended periods of time because of damage caused by high winds or flooding. Wireless phones may serve as alternative means of communication.”

No mention here of the fact that a phone NUMBER can remain operative even if the phone LINE is down IF voicemail has been provided on the number.  Way down on the list at #7 is the statement:

“Know Where to Meet. Agree on a physical and virtual meeting place such as a voice mailbox or online chat site.”

But, of course, this won’t work unless voicemail is installed on a telephone number.  For some reason at&t does NOT suggest ordering voicemail service as a step in emergency preparedness.  Would have thought at least that the survey results create a marketing opportunity for this lucrative service even if at&t is unwilling to provide it to everyone on  a standby basis in an emergency as we have requested.

at&t may not have much confidence in the survivability of its voicemail capability.  In their response to our petition they say:

“Finally, the petition fails to address the very real likelihood that in a disaster impacting a large geographic area, such as a hurricane or earthquake, the platform supporting a provider’s voice mail service may be damaged along with the rest of the provider’s network, thus preventing the provider from fulfilling the mandatory voice mail proposal suggested by petitioners.”

Huh?  Is at&t actually locating voicemail storage anywhere near the switches serving the subscribers who own the mailboxes?  That would be really dumb.  Good thing for the FCC to look at.  Good case for truth in labeling if so because it means that the emergency facility MOST DESIRED BY USERS ACCORDING TO at&t is NOT reliable in an emergency.

If this is the case, they should tell people NOT to rely on this facility since the survey makes clear that people think voicemail WILL work (and, if this is the case, at&t or any other phone company with this problem should immediately reengineer).  If this is not the case, if voicemail really has been engineered as it should be so that it won’t be affected by the same catastrophe as the primary switch, then at&t should stop using this as an excuse NOT to provide emergency voicemail on all downed lines.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451cce569e200d834e1528d69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Will at&t Voicemail Work in an Emergency?:

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Now on Kindle!

hackoff.com: An historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble

CEO Tom Evslin's insider account of the Internet bubble and its aftermath. "This novel is a surveillance video of the seeds of the current economic collapse."

The Interpreter's Tale

Hacker Dom Montain is in Barcelona in Evslin's Kindle-edition long short story. Why? and why are the pickpockets stealing mobile phones?

Need A Kindle?

Kindle: Amazon's Wireless Reading Device

Not quite as good as a real book IMHO but a lot lighter than a trip worth of books. Also better than a cell phone for mobile web access - and that's free!

Recent Reads - Click title to order from Amazon


Google

  • adlinks
  • adsense