Friday, May 20, 2005

FCC Requires E911 for VOIP

The FCC just posted the order, not unexpected really, requiring interconnected VOIP carriers to provide full E911 service as a mandatory feature to all customers. All VOIP providers have 120 days from the date of the order (19 May 2005) to complete this requirement and notify their current and new customers of the changes.

The order also states that all ILEC's are required to fully open all of the E911 systems and components of those systems to any and all VOIP providers requesting access.....and that the FCC will closely monitor to ensure full access is given.

Boy...talk about getting serious. But then I guess they needed to be. Stories like those from Texas....with the Mother who lost her child after being unable to make a 911 call with Vonage....pushed the FCC to decide nothing less.

Now for the fall out though. Not every current VoIP provider will be able to make that 120 deadline. A lot of them will bite the dust.....so much for competition. The ILECs will still likley drag feet or at least require a Kings Ransom to enable access. Wonder what that will do to the low call rates with VoIP. Plus perhaps this will be the begining of tax creap into VoIP phone costs to consumers....for example an E911 fee. There are pros and cons so wait and see is probably the best approach right now. Fortunately my favorite...Packet8....has had E911 for sometime so shouldn't be affected much.

If you'd like more specifics I suggest you visit the FCC site and read the whole shebang.

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