SBC Rejects Vonage Bid to Work on Joint 911 System For VoIP

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Vonage's Emergency Call to SBC March 30, 2005

SBC has turned down overtures from Vonage to work together on developing 911-style emergency services for the VoIP company's customers.

Vonage approached SBC with an offer 'to test and deploy a joint VoIP E-911 service' in a February 18 letter from CEO Jeffrey Citron to SBC CEO Edward Whitacre. "We cannot resolve fundamental issues associated with providing a native E-911 service to VoIP users without your assistance," he said.

Mr. Citron received a response on March 25 from Christopher Rice, SBC's Executive Vice President of Network Planning & Engineering. "SBC would welcome the opportunity to have its 911 expert meet with Vonage to explain SBC's current 911 offerings," said Mr. Rice. "We cannot agree, however, to participate in a separate, proprietary trial with Vonage."

Mr. Rice also pointed to Telcordia as a carrier with which SBC has been working to deliver 911 calls, and cited SBC's own 911 solution available to VoIP providers, called the Switched IP Service.

SBC's decision didn't sit well with Mr. Citron. "I write to express my concern and disappointment at SBC's refusal to work directly with Vonage," Mr. Citron wrote in a March 28 letter. "Vonage renews its request to jointly test and deploy a VoIP solution as soon as possible."

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Jack Decker
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