AT&T Says Don't Use VoIP For A Few Weeks

AT&T has been working to upgrade its CallVantage VoIP offering to make it compliant with E911 requirements (requirements with a fuzzy deadline no one plans to enforce). I’m a CallVantage user, and a few months ago, was told that if I wanted E911, I needed to change my phone number — something I did not want and had no intention of doing. This resulted in a stern warning from a customer service person at AT&T about how I was leaving myself at risk. AT&T’s next move concerning CallVantage 911 was its policy of forcing you check in each time the telephone adapter has been reset. Since I happen to live somewhere that has frequent power outages, this means that half the time I go to make a phone call, I have to sit through a 30 second blurb about how I need to confirm that I have not moved my adapter to a new location (doubly annoying is the fact that you can’t “press 1” to tell AT&T that you’re still in the same location until after the whole message has played). Over the weekend, the situation got even more annoying, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. AT&T contacted many customers (including me) to let them know that upgrades were being performed for better 911 services, but then telling people they could not move their adapters during this unspecified period of time. If the adapter is moved, the notice claims, users will not be able to use their phones other than to call 911 or toll-free numbers for the duration of this upgrade. The time given for the upgrade period is “a few weeks.” The power went out at our house Sunday evening, and while I haven’t had to make a phone call since then, I wonder if this means I won’t be able to use the phone system I’m paying for until whenever AT&T judges it to be okay again. Either way, it seems a bit ridiculous for AT&T to give no advanced notice of the fact that important functionality of their VoIP system cannot be used for “a few weeks” and to not give any way to get around such blocks. Derek adds: This isn’t the first time the 911 issue has been used to aggravate VoIP customers! OK, FCC. We get the 911 thing. Please just leave us alone now.

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