e911 – Is the FCC About to Require 911 Services for VoIP?
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In the next installment of “As the VoIP Turns”, sources are saying that the FCC is about to announce a requirement that all VoIP services offer basic 911, or “e911” services out of the box by a date certain.

According to LightReading.com, “Sources who met with the FCC in recent weeks say the ruling will come at the FCC’s Open Meeting on May 19th, and will require VOIP players to implement 911 service on a nationwide basis within 120 days of the order’s publication.”


The sources go on to say that having made such a ruling, the FCC will then plead lack of authority to force the LECs (local exchange carriers) to make the process any easier on VoIP providers looking to make 911 arrangements with the LECs.

In other words, a coup for the RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies).

Other experts aren’t so sure, and predict that the FCC will also require LECs to make e911 services available to VoIP providers.

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Tim Lorello, CMO for TeleCommunication Systems Inc. explained that “The issue is, fundamentally, if they put forth a mandate saying that you have to deliver the calls with automatic forwarding information, and they do so without forcing the LECs to open up their selective router interfaces, then that will be a real problem.”

This is because VoIP providers are essentially at the mercy of the LECs when it comes to making arrangements to provide 911 services to their customers, although there are some third-party providers of such services. A mandate that VoIP providers make such services available on a wholesale basis within a set period of time, without an equal offsetting mandate to ensure that such services are available to the VoIP providers, may leave the VoIP providers up the proverbial creek.

And that is probably exactly where the RBOCs, their most direct competition, would like to see them.

 

There has been more than a little lobbying on the part of the RBOCs against VoIP providers in Washington lately, and the popular press has been on their side, with stories of both the state of Connecticut and the state of Texas suing Vonage over claimed 911 failures.

And what does this all mean for the consumer? If VoIP is already available in your area, probably nothing. But if it’s not, it could delay, or even possibly preclude, VoIP coming soon to a handset near you.

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One thought on “e911 – Is the FCC About to Require 911 Services for VoIP?
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  1. Sounds like another case of the US government supporting the phone companies rather than the US citizens.

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