FCC Requirement Could Strand VoIP Customers

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission plans to begin enforcing its requirement that Net phone services who connect to the public telephone network--known as "interconnected" services--receive acknowledgment from 100 percent of their customers about 911 limitations.

As a result of the new enforcement, customers who haven't responded affirmatively by Aug. 29 must be cut off, the FCC said in a document released at the end of July. An FCC representative on Thursday indicated no plans to alter the deadline.

At issue is access to the enhanced 911, or E911, system, which allows emergency operators to link a caller's physical location with the phone number used to dial for help. While conventional telephones in most areas of the country have had that capability for years, not all VoIP providers have the technology in place to route their calls to that system. Cell phone companies also have requested more time to upgrade their products.

The FCC has also set a Nov. 28 deadline by which VoIP providers must be able to connect all Internet phone calls to the E911 network. That mandate has also prompted appeals and criticism from the industry, which claims it needs more time to secure contracts and deploy the necessary equipment.

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News source: ZDNet

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