Level 3 Further Extends e911

by Colin C. Haley

The network services wholesaler will have 70 percent of the country covered by year's end.

Level 3 Communications is expanding its VoIP enhanced 911 (e911) coverage in order to help service providers meet new regulations about emergency calls.

The network wholesaler's e911 service will cover 70 percent of the country by year's end, up from 66 percent now. Level 3 will also add an e911 routing service for so-called "nomadic" subscribers (those who move their service from place to place).

The Broomfield, Colo.-based company, which has been deploying e911 infrastructure over the last 18 months, made the announcements were made at the National Emergency Number Association's annual conference in Long Beach, Calif.

VoIP providers are facing a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate to provide e911 service. One way to accomplish this is to contract for the service through Level 3 or similar network service providers.

The exact deadline for the e911 change not been set, but it's expected to be in late fall.

The regulations followed several disturbing incidents where VoIP customers were unable to reach emergency dispatchers.

A Level 3 spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment. In a statement, Sureel Choksi, executive vice president of services, said, "We have seen a significant increase in interest from customers looking for a path to compliance with the FCC's rapid implementation requirements."

Level 3 already counts America Online, the Internet arm of Time Warner , 8X8, Net2Phone, New Global Telecom and Speakeasy as customers, while others are in trials.

This article was originally published on Tuesday Jun 28th 2005