E911 Officer:
Stephen Patterson

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)

Guthrie County Main > E911 Resources > Voice over Internet Protocol

Voice Over Internet Protocol
February, 2014

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 reliable service.

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



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