Emergency Call Center FAQ

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Erika Stevens

Updated

What is the Emergency Call Center? 

The Emergency Call Center (ECC) is an APCO-certified call center that processes and routes inbound emergency calls to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Bandwidth utilizes the ECC to ensure that all emergency calls are routed to the correct PSAP for the caller. When the ECC receives an unprovisioned 911 call, it means that the address or the inbound SIP information for the number are missing or were provided incorrectly. Bandwidth routes these calls to the ECC where they are answered and transferred to the appropriate PSAP based on the caller’s reported location. An ECC fee is assessed against the terminating account for each ECC call, per your contract.

The ECC also handles any calls destined to Canadian PSAPs, as well as any PSAPs with an I1 service level. However, these calls only incur the ECC fee if no address is registered.

Note: Our Dynamic Location Routing (DLR), Dynamic E911 for Microsoft Teams, and Emergency Calling API behave a little differently. Instead of having static addresses provisioned to the numbers ahead of a 911 call, both the caller information (Endpoint) and the caller location (Geolocation) information need to be sent at call time. If either piece of information is missing at call time, the call will be considered unprovisioned. It will then be routed to the ECC and result in ECC charges. You must be contracted for 911 to use any of these products.

What is the difference between an I1 and I2 PSAP?

If Bandwidth can deliver both the voice call and the caller data (ANI/ALI) to the PSAP directly,  it is considered an I2 PSAP. If Bandwidth can’t deliver either the voice call or the ALI/ALI to the PSAP directly, it is considered an I1 PSAP and will route the call to the ECC. We’re regularly looking at all I1 PSAPs to see if we can convert them to I2 and start routing calls directly to them.

Why was our 911 call routed to the ECC instead of an I1 PSAP?

All 911 calls within the jurisdiction of an I1 PSAP route to Bandwidth’s ECC and are then manually transferred by the ECC call taker to the PSAP’s 10-digit 24/7 admin line. We do this because our ECCs have a direct tie into our 911 database that allows them to see any provisioned caller information, whereas an I1 PSAP would not receive caller data. This is especially important in the case of an unresponsive caller. Upon transferring the call to the local PSAP, the ECC call taker will verbally relay whatever address information is provisioned with Bandwidth or provided at call time for the caller.

If our address is in Canada, why did it go to the ECC instead of the local PSAP?

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requires all emergency calls made through VoIP services to be routed to a national ECC for initial handling. For more information, please see this support article.

Why did we get charged an unprovisioned ECC fee if the number doesn’t belong to us?

Bandwidth accepts all 911 calls regardless of the From number, as we believe that’s part of our responsibility as a telecommunication provider. The way we associate calls to an account is based on whether the IP that sent the call has been whitelisted on your account. If you have any PSTNs/10-digit TNs set up for 911, we’ll associate any calls to your PSTN with your account regardless of the From number or IP.

How can we be notified of the ECC calls?

Wholesale customers who manage Static VoIP E911 in the 911 Access Dashboard can manage their ECC notifications through their user roles. As a default, ECC notifications are sent to all admins, unless an Emergency Notification role is assigned to any user. Once that role is assigned to someone, the notifications will only go out to those with that role. Review user roles in our 911 Access Dashboard User Guide.  

Customers contracted for Dynamic Location Routing (DLR), Dynamic E911 for Microsoft Teams, or our Emergency Calling API can have email notifications set up by opening a ticket with the Bandwidth Support Team. 

All other customers with voice services managed through the Bandwidth Dashboard, including our UC Trunking customers with bundled 911 services, can access their ECC call records from a new BDR report using the following steps:

  1. Log into the Bandwidth Dashboard.
  2. In the top navigation bar, select Insights and click Billing
  3. Under Type, select Unprovisioned Emergency Calls BDR to see all calls within a given time period. Otherwise, select Unprovisioned Emergency Calls Stmt BDR to see all calls for a given statement. 

Note: These notifications and BDRs are only provided for ECC calls that occur because of the unprovisioned numbers/addresses and won’t include any calls that route to the ECC due to being in Canada or provisioned to an I1 PSAP. These are also separate from the emergency notifications that satisfy Kari’s Law and are sent out for every call on a per TN basis.

How much are we being charged for the ECC calls?

Each unprovisioned emergency call is subject to an ECC fee specified in your contract. This fee will be reflected on your Bandwidth invoice. 

How can we avoid an unprovisioned ECC fee? 

For Static VoIP E911 and UC Trunking bundled E911 services, please ensure that any phone number that can dial 911 and be routed to Bandwidth has a provisioned 911 address associated with it. For any Dynamic Location Routing (DLR), Dynamic E911 for Microsoft Teams, or Emergency Calling API accounts, please ensure that both the Endpoint ID and the Geolocation information are provided at call time. As a reminder, Bandwidth accepts all 911 calls regardless of the From number, as we believe that’s part of our responsibility as a telecommunication provider. 

How can I check if my 911 addresses are provisioned correctly?

There are several ways to check if your addresses are provisioned correctly, depending on which type of customer you are: 

How can we find out which number a 911 call was made from if it shows up as invalid on the emergency notification? 

If an invalid phone number was provided, the Bandwidth Support Team can only see the SIP invites that were delivered to us. We can assist via support tickets to determine the IP from which the call was received, as well as any identifying information provided verbally on the call. 

Can our 911 calls be routed to the PSAP call takers that speak French in Canada?

Yes! For each endpoint registered with Bandwidth for 911, you can choose a language preference of either English or French. For calls in Canada, your call will be delivered to a call taker answering in the preferred language. 

Note: Our ECCs try to staff for call volume, but if there are no available French-speaking call takers, the call may be directed to an English-speaking call taker. In that case, and for all other languages, the ECC call takers will use translation services available to them to assist callers.

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