911 and Hotel Liability

Just read “911 and POTS line with no service?” and it got me thinking about one of my current problems. I am switching over local hotels to outgoing VOIP service for in-house guest calls. I’m curious to see how other people have handled this.

First off I don’t have an asterisk box at any of these locations yet. At the asterisk roll out I am assuming I can set up a couple of FXO cards to a live POTS line and structure my dial plan to call out on that port(s) when 911 is dialed. Hmmm if it was possible to structure a ‘line seizure’ condition like an alarm that would be good. If not a couple of dedicated emergency POTS lines would be cheap insurance. If this assumption is incorrect please let me know.

What I am dealing with now is just some cobbled together Legacy PBX’s to Broadvoice Sipura adapters. I talked to broadvoice this morning and they will be sending the PW to log into the Sipura and change the dial plan to a local number. I read here in the forums that in most municipalities 911 rings to xxx-xxx-4014. I am attempting to work with the local police dept to verify that number and set up a test schedule. But they are being something less than helpful. If/when I get this working it would then give me the ability to trunk a 911 call Through the in-house PBX to the Sipura then through the internet to the BV switch which will then place a call to the local exchange and then into the 911 system. Uh, I’m not sure I’m happy with this.

I just had an informal conversation with a local lawyer, as no money was exchanged it was about as informal as a lawyer could get and still be sober. Anyway his position was that: 911 services do not have to work. The police are not under any obligation to come to a 911 call. However your equipment must connect to the 911 system or you are exposing your client to a huge risk. He was also of the opinion that there was not going to be a ‘best and reasonable attempt’ type of defense available to the equipment vendor. IE, me. In light of this information I’d be curious to know what other people have done for liability issues here.

In light of the current situation I am now looking for Sipura type adapters that will provide a pots port that I can route 911 calls through. If anyone is interested I’ll post the information here. And of course if you know of one I’d appreciate the information.

It would also seem that if a client is going to go to VOIP, a reliable asterisk box would be the way to go. Cisco’s specs for 5 9’s requires a primary VOIP server and a back-up server both going at the same time. A little common sense for separate UPS, power circuits and location would also go a long way. I’d also be interested in knowing how other people have handled the reliability issues.

Thanks for any info and I am having a lot of fun here with this project!


Just read a post by Muppetmaster over at


and the Sipura 3000 would seem to be the way to go. It also would apear that when I roll out the asterisk box I can use it there too. :stuck_out_tongue:

You can re-purpose both the dlink 1120M that can be had a circuitcity/staples/bestbuy. They are reasonably priced at around $60 for 2 FXS and 1 FXO

Units units work well with asterisk and can be set to dial 911 out the FXO.

The unit has a physical VOIP/PSTN switch which allows the unit to funtion when the power is down.

You can contact an E911 service provider, there are three I know of who can hanlde NON-Mobile VoIP installs. I would highly recommend ETC911.com as they are the most affordable. And most forth coming with information.

etc911.com is a parked domain. I assume you meant 911etc.com?

When you say affordable, just how much does this service cost (ballpark)?

Yes sorry that is the link.

Costs a hard line to the PSTN, usually ISDN. Internet connection which would update the database, and the actual service. They usally charge per location, so say you set up hotels all the time, you could have your own account and keep adding to it, but that is a discussion you would have on your own.

Another option is you send all 911 calls through the asterisk server on location and have a POTS line which would accept all 911 dialed calls. But maybe that would not work for you for some reason?