SBC, BellSouth, Vonage Pen 911 Deal

Vonage on Thursday announced that it had signed deals with SBC and BellSouth to provide enhanced 911 services to its customers in three out of four major service areas of the two companies. The talks had been ongoing since April. This comes before an expected ruling on Thursday by the FCC to force traditional and VoIP phone companies to work together within a certain period of time or face possible sanctions.

Vonage penned a deal with Verizon on May 4 that will give it access to enhanced 911 services across the phone providers coverage area.

The deals are likely in response to recent lawsuits filed against the company. The state of Texas has already filed a lawsuit against Vonage, and Michigan has threatened to sue. Several other states and municipalities including New York City have complained to the company about it's 911 problems.

"SBC and BellSouth have really come a long way over just a few short weeks - we now have a good faith agreement to get this done in the marketplace so all of our customers can get E911, regardless of what number they're calling from and where," Jeffrey Citron, Vonage's CEO said.

Citron complimented how fast the Baby Bells have reacted in reponse to the 911 problems VoIP providers are encountering, and said that the industry may beat wireless to the E911 punch. "The work Verizon, SBC and BellSouth have done on Vonage's behalf will enable us to deploy E911 quicker than the cellular industry. We may even beat them in the race to get the majority of our customers on E911, despite the cellular industry's 10-year lead."

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