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…
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