AT&T Disconnecting CallVantage Subscribers That Can't Access E911

AT&T is firing VoIP customers who live in areas not served by E911. The letters to CallVantage subscribers were sent over the past two weeks and read, “All customers who currently have A911 service must be moved to E911 service (where available) or their AT&T CallVantage service will be disconnected.” If E911 is unavailable, service is suspended effective May 21.

A911, or Alternative 911, is significantly worse that E911, or Enhanced 911. According to AT&T:

The public-safety answering points (PSAP)_ or local emergency service dispatcher receiving AT&T CallVantage alternative 911 calls may not answer the calls outside of normal business hours and may not be able to capture and/or retain automatic number or location information.

AT&T’s disconnect letter, after the jump…

(Photo: humain)


Oddly, AT&T’s actions come as the Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill to help VoIP providers transition to E911. Though the bill would allow state and local governments to collect 911 fees from VoIP providers, it would also provide them with equal access to the 911 network, and grant their PSAPs liability protection.

The disconnections are allowed by AT&T’s terms and conditions.

6. CANCELLATION OF SERVICE BY YOU OR AT&T
AT&T may either cancel your Service or transfer your service to a different telephone number without penalty, upon reasonable notice, if AT&T stops providing AT&T CallVantage Service either generally or in your area, if AT&T at any time does not provide E911 service for your existing phone number, or for other reasons associated with AT&T’s provision of E911 or A911 service.

The disconnect letter:

AT&T will no longer offer AT&T CallVantage service in areas where A911 is the only 911 service available. All customers who currently have A911 service must be moved to E911 service (where available) or their AT&T CallVantage service will be disconnected. Currently, you have A911 service and we are not able to offer E911 service in your area… You may transition your phone number to an alternate service provider or discontinue service… Your AT&T CallVantage service will be suspended on May 21st… We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

— CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

CallVantage [snellspace.com via Slashdot] (Thanks to Toland!)

Comments

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  1. scoobydoo says:

    Once SBC purchased ATT I guess it was only a matter of time till they pulled stunts like this. SBC don’t need no stinkin VOIP customers, they want you on their landlines.

    Classy of them to give their customers under 3 weeks to find an alternative. They’d better not hassle those people that want to take their number elsewhere.

  2. strathmeyer says:

    “AT&T is firing VoIP customers who live in areas not served by E911.”

    Ouch! I didn’t even know I had a job!

  3. ptkdude says:

    @strathmeyer: “Firing” customers is the correct term for when a company decides to stop doing business with a customer.

  4. rekoil says:

    I’d be curious to see how much of the areas that don’t offer E-911 are in AT&T territory (compared to, say, Verizon-land)…AT&T only wants to sell VoIP to folks they can’t sell a landline to. Gotta get that $6/month for call waiting…

  5. royal72 says:

    is it time for att to be ripped apart again like back the 80s?… hey ben, think it’s time to break out the “death star” att logo for posts about them.

  6. chemman says:

    While I think three weeks is not enough notice to give it’s customers to find new service, I can’t say I blame AT&T for pulling this move. Just look at Vonage, it got sued by someone claiming they didn’t have adequate 911 service, even though the 911 feature is clearly explained throughout every step of the set up and needs to be confirmed before service is even started. Those customers on the A911 plan are liabilities to the company in today’s litigious society.

  7. ski081 says:

    Wow. I’ve been a CallVantage customer for 2 years now. I’d be pretty bent out of shape if they just pulled the plug on me. For the most part, their service has been pretty good, but the letter posted here is horrible. No advance notice, and 3 weeks to get a new provider? That’s not right.

  8. demoman says:

    Ok so if your on the OUTS with Vonage or with AT&T’s VOiP. Get ahold of me, I have access to a VOiP product that is 23.99/mo through a company called ACN. They offer Digital Phone service as well as Digital Video Phone Service.

    To check out the product http://boutwell.acnrep.com
    Or just email me at indyacnrep@gmail.com

    We have been at giving folks GREAT Phone services for 14 years now and if I can help out to get you UNLIMITED Long Distance via Digital service for a low price. I’d love to help.