FCC Floats VoIP 911 Deadline

    August 26, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Frantic pleas from AT&T and other VoIP providers have convinced the FCC to move its August 29 deadline for 911 service acknowledgements to September 28.

The FCC has tried to address the problems customers encountered with Internet phones and 911 service. By compelling VoIP providers to notify and receive acknowledgement that customers understand emergency dialing may not always work with their products, the FCC has placed the burden of education on them.

Not all customers have acknowledged these notifications, the Wall Street Journal notes, and the FCC was going to require those customers, numbering tens of thousands of users, be cutoff from VoIP service until they do.

An appeal from those providers has convinced the regulatory agency to push back the compliance deadline. In the absence of a customer response to the notification, the FCC wants to see VoIP companies stop regular phone service, but not emergency dialing.

While VoIP offers an inexpensive way to place calls from a computer, it is dependent upon the computer and the broadband connection it uses. If the computer fails or the connection becomes lost, the VoIP service no longer functions.

There have been cases involving VoIP where attempts to make emergency calls did not go through to 911 dispatchers, and lawsuits have resulted from those problems.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.