Guthrie County E911 Office
200 North 5th Street
Guthrie Center, IA 50115
Ph: (641) 747-8320
Fax: (641) 747-8916
Hrs: 8:00 to 4:30 (M-F)
Main > E911
Resources > Voice over Internet Protocol
Voice Over Internet Protocol
A trend is just getting underway for savvy computer users to either
discontinue land line phone service or to supplement it by having
phone service over the Internet. There are cost factors in choosing
this as well as convenience factors. However, E911 service is
something that should be of concern to those choosing Voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP).
If VoIP is used on an in-place computer such as at home, the user
can work through the Internet provider to assure that E911 service
is available. The Federal Communication Commission has mandated that
VoIP companies provide E911 service and, in fact, the surcharge is
assessed on such service. The user should be certain as to the
procedure used by the VoIP provider to be sure that such E911
service is actually provided to your proper location.
Problems really arise if your VoIP service is attached to a laptop
that you may have ANYWHERE. If you establish E911 on that laptop,
you must notify your VoIP provider every time you have the laptop
outside your home county. Otherwise, an E911 call will show your
home location in Iowa even if you are on a business trip in Kansas
City. Having your call go to your Iowa Sheriff’s Dept. will cause
severe delay in emergency services if you are in Kansas City!
As more and more options such as iPods, blackberries, etc. become
more common, this problem of having E911 service will be greatly
increased. Before you expect your high-tech device to be usable for
such purposes, you need to be very educated as to what your provider
expects and needs from you in order to give you some kind of
With the new $1.2 million system recently installed, the ability of the system to handle these newer hand-held technologies is much better. But there are always "issues" that can occur with technology. If you have questions about some particular hand-held device and its ability to handle 911, you could contact the Administrator at (712) 523-3367.
Whenever possible, you should use a more reliable means of accessing
E911 service. A land line phone is virtually always the best means
of getting your call to the local location that you likely need.
There is still some unreliability in using cell phones for
E911 purposes as well.
Other sites of interest on this topic:
Cellular Phones and E911