e911 is short for enhanced 911. Before the advent of VoIP providers, when everybody got their phone service from a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) or an ILEC (Independent Local Exchange Carrier), it was the responsibility of the local phone company to make sure that a 911 call got routed to the appropriate answering center, with the physical address of the subscriber transmitted with the call. Enhanced 911 puts some of the burden of address registration back onto the end user. Since a VoIP phone is not connected to a physical, wired connection that goes directly to a phone company, a telephone that makes a 911 call could be located literally anyplace in the world.
nexMatrix Telecom provides e911 service automatically, to any customer making calls on our network. But it is the customer's and/or the installing reseller's responsibility to do two very important things. First, the caller ID that will be sent from a phone when it dials 911 needs to be established. If no specific rules have been set for 911 dialing for a particular extension user, the default caller ID for that trunk account will be sent out. The second, very important, step is to register a physical address for that caller ID with the carrier. nexMatrix provides a link in the customer account portal to enter address registration information.
If a 911 call is placed through an e911 provider, but no address registration details have been entered, the provider is forced to route the call to a national center. Instead of having the call route automatically to the local emergency response center, a live operator has to answer the call, get the caller's location information, and then route the call to the local response center. This not only causes a significant delay in getting emergency response, it also incurs a hefty charge from the carrier. An e911 call that has to be manually routed is known in the industry as a "rogue" 911 call. nexMatrix incurs an automatic charge from our 911 provider of $85.00 for these calls, which we pass on (with no markup) to the offending customer.
Monthly registration of a caller ID to a physical address is very inexpensive by comparison - $1.50 per month or less from nexMatrix. If you are using a Protel PBX, you can set up dialing rules that allow you to send a different caller ID for 911 calls, and assign them by extension. This feature gives you the ability to send out a general company-wide caller ID for normal calls, but transmit a 911-only caller ID for emergency calls, thus allowing you to give very specific address information - such as floor number, building number or room number - for 911 service.