Texas: Vonage 911 Is a Joke

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Vonage Holdings Corp. says it intends to quickly settle its legal tangle with the State of Texas and its Attorney General, Greg Abbott.

Or maybe it will fight back.

"Yes, we are going to try to settle it," says Brooke Schulz, Vonage's VP of corporate relations. "We are going to sit down with them and try to reach an agreement that is favorable for everybody. Whether we settle or defend, they are both ways of settling."

Background: The Texas Attorney General announced this week that it is suing Vonage, claiming that the VOIP provider is misrepresenting its service as a real phone service -- allegedly Vonage implies that dialing 911 from one of its lines would yield the same results as would using a phone connected to the PSTN.

The lawsuit stems from an incident in Houston when a teenage girl had to run to a neighbor's house to call 911 while her parents were assaulted and shot during a robbery. The family were Vonage customers, but their phone was useless as they didn't properly activate Vonage's

911 service.

But it's not as if they weren't warned, Vonage says.

"There are a lot of disclosures we make to our customers about E911," Schulz says. "During the subscription process there are several reminders that our 911 service is different and that there is a need for the customer to activate it."

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Jack Decker
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