I saw the USA Today story about AT&T’s new way to insure that nomadic VoIP users stay safe. Overall I have to like the idea on face because when the Vonage 911 fiascos hit I actually suggested something very similar to AT&T's PR team when I was looking around for other viewpoints on what had happened to Vonage users in Texas, Florida and then in Connecticut .
Being a road warrior who has taken his CallVantage box, and Vonage and Broadvoice accounts with me around the country and to the UK and France, I’m a bit experienced with the idea of plugging and hooking up away from home, so the idea of an IP address change look-up as a way of knowing the device was moved seemed like a good first step. That was my first concern, but it seems that according to sources at AT&T that I spoke with that the powering on the telephone adapter is what triggers the need to update your location details. That’s pretty smart.
While this solution is a good first step, I don’t think it’s the end game for any VoIP player, including AT&T. E-911 is a shifting target and AT&T obviously recognizes that reality with their initial play it safe, not sorry, approach. As each new technology replaces what existed previously, common sense and rationale thought needs to be applied. AT&T’s move uses currently available and proven technology to try and address customer safety in the shadow of political realities.
While others may have different views on this, I think this lab experiment may one day prove to be more valuable than we know, and am willing to give it a try as long as someone will admit they were wrong if it doesn’t work out.