Los Angeles County public-safety answering points (PSAPs) can accept voice-over-IP (VoIP) E-911 calls and transfer calls with the push of a button after 911 vendor Intrado deployed its V911 solution in the county, the company announced recently.

A key challenge for Intrado in Los Angeles County was a local requirement that emergency calls be transferred quickly between county PSAPs in different emergency service number (ESN) boundaries, said Mary Boyd, Intrado’s vice president of government and external affairs. The Los Angeles County deployment represents the first multiple-ESN deployment in the nation, she said.

“Once a 911 call reached a PSAP within Los Angeles, they needed the ability to make a one-button transfer, so they could transfer that VoIP call at the touch of a button to another PSAP within L.A. County,” Boyd said. “Emergency response is all about quickly getting the call not only into the PSAP but getting it dispatched and getting responding agencies on the scene. For Los Angeles to demand multiple ESN so they can use their one-button call transfer, that equates to saving valuable seconds ... and it does improve response time.”

While Intrado is testing autolocation technologies, the Los Angeles deployment depends on addresses supplied by the VoIP provider or user, Boyd said. The V911 deployment in Los Angeles County required no additional costs to PSAPs other than the costs associated with testing, she said.

Some VoIP providers have expressed frustration regarding access to the 911 selective routers typically owned by incumbent telephone carriers, but Intrado has interconnection agreements with most incumbents and can serve as a broker to help a VoIP provider gain access.

Many public-safety officials remain concerned with the ability of PSAPs to receive VoIP emergency calls, but Boyd said the integration of VoIP into the 911 system has been relatively quick compared to other voice technologies.

“The reality is we’ve spent 38 years in wireline 911 and spent a decade trying to get wireless, and we don’t have either one of those at 100%,” Boyd said. “For Intrado to see V911 deployment at over 50% of the PSAPs today is absolutely phenomenal, given the history of the other technologies.”