In my previous post I got the OBi installed and set up with my temporary Google Voice number. Porting my number from Tracfone to Google Voice was really quick and painless, in total it took about 2 days for it to complete. My landline was now associated with my Google Voice and I discarded the old temporary number I was provisioned from GV when I began the process. I powered on the OBi and dialed my old home number, and it worked! I was now able to receive calls at our home number through Google Voice. With that I quickly cancelled the phone service I had bundles through the cable company where I have cable and internet. Oddly, for the service being a ‘free’ add on to my account, I saved $12 a month in taxes and fee and an additional $10 because I dropped the service..like I said, odd.
One last thing I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it or not. I know that Google Voice does not support 911 service. However, the first thing I do when someone tells me you can’t do something is look around and see if that is really the case. Turns out Google Voice REALLY doesn’t support 911, however, it can be configured on the OBi. First off you have to create an account with another SIP provider that does do e911 (stands for enhanced 911, which basically means more information is pushed to the dispatcher when you call). There are a number of providers, but I decided to sign up with Anveo.com. I read some forums that most people had a fairly positive experience with them, so I signed up with them. The account was free, but e911 costed $0.8 per month or $9.2 per year, reasonable for peace of mind IMO.
First thing to do was create my free account with Anveo. I could have signed up with them rather than Google Voice at that point, they do the same thing, but everything that is free at GV costs money at Anveo. Next I had to put some money in my account so I could sign up for the e911 service, they accept Paypal. Once the funds cleared I was able to enter my home address information. Next I had to set up the Anveo account on my Obi on SP2, thankfully the Obitalk site come ready to connect to Anveo right away, I just had to choose them as a SIP provider and fill out the required information.
The final step was to make an actual test 911 call. I found my locale’s 911 call center through this site. Once I found the call center servicing my area, I called the 911 operations manager and requested a test 911 call. I read a number of horror stories about how people would just call 911 without scheduling the test and having the police show up at their front door. I got a hold of the operations manager, who surprisingly knew exactly what I was talking about when I requested the test, and scheduled the test. I have to admit I was a little nervous calling 911, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work or exactly what was going to happen. I dialed 911 and waited…and waited some more.. and continued to wait, the call finally went through after about 40 seconds of dead silence from the phone. The 911 operator picked up and I identified myself and that this was a test. The operator didn’t have address information for me, and the number showing in their system was some odd number I had never heard of before. I collected as much information as I could from the dispatcher the hung up.
I contacted Anveo support and it turns out the number the 911 dispatcher saw was in fact a callback number that they assigned me, though it wasn’t my home number. I test dialed the number and sure enough it rang my home phone. As for the long wait to connect and my information not being available to the dispatcher, I am still looking into what might have happened. One suspicion is the proxy location for Anveo was set to Dallas and I changed it to Montreal since it is much closer. I haven’t tested again to see if this makes a difference.