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July 17, 2005

Verizon Outage

Verizon online says it will be TWO DAYS until the total outage we and some of our neighbors are experiencing is fixed. Along with our three Vonage lines and Skype use, we’ve kept one Verizon line as a backup and for its theoretically superior 911.

Our Verizon line has no dialtone.  There is no intercept so, if we had given people our Verizon number, they would hear a ring with no answer even though Verizon knows the line is out of service. Fortunately we don’t give out Verizon numbers because they don’t move with us the way our VoIP numbers do.

We are on the well-populated Jersey Shore.  There are no mountains or other tough terrain nor have there been significant storms which might have caused multiple breaks and an extended outage.  It has rained but I think Verizon’s dealt with that before.

Mary is out telling our neighbors that they can use our VoIP phone if they need to make a call.  Of course they have cell phones so, like us, they probably don’t feel cutoff.  Moreover, for many of them, these are second homes so not many people call them on these numbers.  But a 911 call could really be a problem.  The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has never forced mobile providers to provide good 911 the way that it has recently ruled that VoIP providers must do.

This incident is just one more example of why the FCC order that VoIP providers must provide the same obsolete 911 service that legacy phone companies do was ill-advised.  Our daughter Kate’s experience using VoIP to call from London after the transit bombings when traditional international calls were having a difficult time is a more serious example.

Let’s see how tough the FCC is on incumbent telcos that can’t delver reliable emergency (or any other kind) of service.

Note that I changed the phone number in the Verizon page below.

Cable Failure

Telephone (732) 555 1111

The number you are reporting is part of an outage.
The estimated restoration time for this outage is 7/19/2005 11:59 PM.

If your trouble is other than No Dial Tone, please contact us.


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