There are No Mulligans When Your House is on Fire

In one of the 2006 trend prediction threads, I mentioned that I was not sold on VOIP because of the uncertainty that 911 calls will work.

houseonfireI argued that while internet phone calls may be a trend, before VOIP will be a meaningful alternative to traditional land or mobile lines, someone will have to convince millions of people like me that if we dial 911 on VOIP, someone will answer who can help and knows where we’re calling from. There are often no mulligans when it comes to a 911 call, so creating certainty in the minds of the masses will be critical to the trend-ablility of internet phone service. Otherwise it will be a utility for a few and a toy for many.

Sadly, a man in Minnesota found out the hard way that, in fact, there are no mulligans. He called 911 over his Vonage VOIP line when a fire started in his house and, get this, was put on hold by Vonage while his house turned into a 5 alarm blaze.

This is why VOIP is a gadget, not a utility.

Frankly, I can’t believe companies who bungle such an important part of phone service are allowed to do business.