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Texas AG Sues Vonage Over 911

3/22/2005 4:41 AM Eastern

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Tuesday sued Vonage Holdings Corp. for failing to properly inform consumers about possible shortcomings with its 911 service.

In a statement, Abbott said he filed suit after learning that two Houston residents who subscribe to Vonage’s voice-over-Internet-protocol service were shot multiple times in home invasion but could not use 911 to seek help.

“This family’s moment of crisis signals a dire need for Vonage to clearly communicate to its Internet telephone customers that 911 access may not be available to them,” Abbott said in a prepared statement. “This is not just about bad customer service -- it’s a matter of life and death.”

A Vonage spokeswoman said she would provide a statement if the company decided to respond. Based in New Jersey, Vonage has more than 500,000 subscribers, making it the largest non-facilities-based VoIP provider in the United States.

Vonage offers 911 service, but Abbott’s statement said the company requires consumers to “proactively sign up” for it, and the service is not as dependable as 911 service offered by traditional phone carriers.

September