Thursday, December 29, 2005

FCC and E911

J. Nicholas Hoover in a "Message to FCC: Stop Hurting VoIP" he writes this about the Voice Over IP / E911 problem:

When the FCC mandated enhanced 911 capabilities for VoIP providers, it opened a potentially anti-innovative can of worms commissioners can't solve with one punitive pen stroke. VoIP E911 is a complex problem with no simple answers, but if the FCC wants to keep the burgeoning industry growing quickly, it should stimulate discussion and aid compliance instead of fixing itself into a scolding pattern.

Toward the end he adds:

This isn't to say that safety isn't an issue and exploding subscriber numbers could make the case for a forced FCC hand. I've been told that since I work from home near Washington and have a VoIP phone with a Long Island exchange, it's possible that emergency personnel could show up to InformationWeek headquarters in New York if I ever called 911 on my work phone. Misleading advertising and lack of services led to at least one lawsuit against Vonage earlier this year. And even if companies solve location issues, VoIP service, unlike traditional phones, shuts off in power and Internet outages, potentially hindering disaster relief. Yet VoIP still isn't the main communication method for most people. The biggest thing here is to make customers aware of VoIP's E911 troubles.

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