E911 In The Spotlight: Comcast

comcastCome Monday morning Comcast is going to wake to a big public relations nightmare, one that although directed at Comcast’s Digital Voice service may well throw the spotlight on VOIP providers supporting the E911 service.

The publisher of It Can Happen To You writes that 911 on Comcast Digital Voice failed when he tried to use it to contact emergency services after his son started having a seizure. Several attempts were made and each one failed to connect. He was then forced to use his cell phone to contact 911, losing even more time by having to then explain his location to the operator.

Despite numerous attempts to contact some one in authority at Comcast to complain and highlight the issue, the writer failed.

The story is already huge on Digg, and is bound to get further airplay Monday.

The failure of 911 to work on a closed system such as Comcast Digital Voice raises questions about the effectiveness of all non-traditional users of the E911 system, VOIP providers included. We know that 911 calls work on a regular land line, but with a history of issues in the past, and now this story, consumers may well feel hesitant in subscribing to VOIP and similar systems in the future. After all, who in the United States doesn’t want 911 on hand in an emergency?