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Communications United States

FCC Extends VoIP 911 Deadline 113

a.different.perspect writes "The Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline for formal acknowledgement of the limitations of the Enhanced 911 service used by VoIP providers by 30 days, to September 28. The FCC requires that VoIP companies in the United States inform and receive acknowledgement from all their customers of the pitfalls of E911, which corresponds 911 calls made on a VoIP service with the physical address of the caller according to company records but which won't report correct information if, for example, a customer uses their VoIP phone away from their registered address. Currently 1.5 million VoIP subscribers have confirmed their acceptance of E911, but 100,000 are yet to respond and had faced the termination of their service."
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FCC Extends VoIP 911 Deadline

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  • Um (Score:2, Insightful)

    by seramar ( 655396 )
    Wouldn't you have thought that this would have been a requirement upon the initial activation of the service for liability reasons? I mean seriously, if you can get sued over hot coffee (mcdonald's, not GTA ;) ) then I think this could really get you pwnd. No, I haven't RTFA. It just sounds like a bunch of idiocy anyway.
    • Re:Um (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mboverload ( 657893 )
      Actually this was started because a mommy tried to dial 911 on her VOIP phone, therefore not getting help in time to save her child.

      Don't you just love how people put the blame on something else? Oh no you were too stupid to even understand your PHONE so you better blame them.
      • Re:Um (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The Dobber ( 576407 )

        The fact that someone lost a child due to the inability of contacting emergency services is tragic. One should expect this basic ability for any phone service.

        • Re:Um (Score:2, Informative)

          by mboverload ( 657893 )
          She killed her own child by signing up for a service that didn't fit her needs.

          Ok, you cancel your landline and buy a mobile phone. The mobile phone doesn't work in your area. DO you sue T-Mobile?

          From Business Week (MUCH BETTER ARTICLE)

          " A deadline has been extended that could have left tens of thousands of people without their Internet phone service next week.

          The Federal Communications Commission said Friday it would delay a Monday deadline for providers of Internet-based phone calls to obtain acknowledgm
          • by bsd4me ( 759597 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @10:09AM (#13415128)

            he killed her own child by signing up for a service that didn't fit her needs.

            Ok, you cancel your landline and buy a mobile phone. The mobile phone doesn't work in your area. DO you sue T-Mobile?

            I think the real problem is that VoIP is being marketed as a replacement as replacement for normal phone service. I don't recall any mobile phone commericals that say "Buy a wireless phone and drop your phone service," but I do recall ones that say "Buy VoIP from is and drop your normal phone service."

            I think the average person here knows about the problems with VoIP, but I doubt the average person does. Also, what about people who dial 911 from a VoIP phone who don't know its a VoIP phone (eg, you have a heart attach and a friend calls 911).

            • I don't know about the US but lots of mobile phone providers here in germany have a plan where it is much cheaper to make and receive calls at home (through the tower closest to your home) than anywhere else and of course the marketing sells this as replacement for the landline.
        • So this should just magically convert an IP address to a physical address? I'm sorry for the mother who lost her child, and agree that it should be dealt with. However, the technical issue of getting a physical address from an IP address without the customer providing that information is nontrivial.

          And there's nothing that will help the customer who brings his VOIP phone to his uncle's house in another state so he can call friends at home for no long distance charge.
          • the technical issue of getting a physical address from an IP address without the customer providing that information is nontrivial.

            You have got to be kidding me. Half the time geolocation systems think I am in Kansas City because Earthlink Cable seems to route things through KC even though I am in Milwaukee. Even when the more accurate systems pick up my address (Thank you Friend Finder, who seems to have their geotargeted ads on even non-p0rn sites) it still can't figure out the exact address.

            The compan
          • Well, one idea is having location info sent out via DHCP so any device grabbing an IP via DHCP can also get its own physical location in the DHCP response. That way, no matter where you plug your device at, it would be able to "know its own location" and therefore, would be able to send that location when dialing 911. Sadly, even if this is done, chances are, not everyone would be doing it.
        • Nah, it's just Darwin at work... ex post facto.
      • Re:Um (Score:4, Interesting)

        by KnightMB ( 823876 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @10:15AM (#13415155)
        She dialed 911 and got through just fine, she just blamed VoIP because of her tragedy and her lawyer is trying to cash in. That's the thing people forget, she dialed 911 and it worked (twice actually), again just someone trying to $$$ in on a tragedy.
        • That's why it's called "jackpot justice". Just pick a lawer, and a topic and let him spin the wheel. If your lucky, you will cash in on millions at the expense of the rest of society.

          As such, I'm in favor of Tort Reform. http://www.atra.org/ [atra.org]
      • Except for in that case, she did what she was supposed to do. She registered her location for their 911 with the VoIP company. When she went to use the VoIP's 911 service it didn't work properly.
      • There are more pressing concerns.

        Think about it. Your telephone needs to be the most reliable piece of equipment in your house in the case of an emergency. Yet, battery backups for VOIP setups are not legally required.

        A lot of good E911 service will do you if your phone doesn't work when the power is out.
    • Re:Um (Score:5, Informative)

      by Poromenos1 ( 830658 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:37AM (#13414984) Homepage
      Actually, the McDonald's coffee case wasn't all that dumb:

      http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm [lectlaw.com]
      • Re:Um (Score:2, Insightful)

        by TheGavster ( 774657 )
        It doesn't matter what the temperature of the liquid was ... you're still an idiot to think it's McDonald's fault you dumped coffee on yourself. Whose fault is it if you get bleach in your eye doing the laundry?
        • It's your fault if you spill it. However, is it unreasonable to assume that it will simply hurt... instead of giving you third degree burns and putting you in the hospital for a week?
          • Re:Um (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            She spilt it.. end of story. Are we going to sue Clorox and have a court force them to dilute their bleach because its too harmful and people only expected it to sting their eye instead of causing major injuries?

            She was negligent in her handling of the liquid and its her fault if she didn't know how hot it was before acting foolishly with the coffee.

            I can guarantee you there are plenty of common consumer items that alot people have misconceptions of. People really need to quit pretending that someone else i
            • You argument is very sound, because as we all know, coffee is made for drinking, and bleach is also made for drinking. Therefore, spilling coffee on you is the same thing as putting bleach in your eye. Because only dumb people spill their coffee, and they DESERVE to get 3rd degree burns for it.

        • Re:Um (Score:4, Informative)

          by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @11:02AM (#13415387) Homepage Journal
          If the bleach bottle is labelled "Vinegar" then the answer is "not yours".

          If I served you ice cream at -240F and your tongue froze and broke off after you put a spoonful in your mouth, would that be your fault? After all, everyone knows ice is cold.

          "Hot Coffee" means 120-140 degrees. That is what it means everywhere in the country EXCEPT some McDonalds, where they think they know better so they served it at 180 degrees. At 180 degrees the behavior of water (which is what coffee really is) in contact with skin is completely different than at 140. More so than the difference in spilling bleach on your skin vs spilling vinegar. At 140 degrees your skin and the air can dissipate the heat of the liquid faster than it can cook your skin. At 180 degrees it cannot. There is a threshold passed where you move from "Hot" to "Scalding".

          • Brilliant.
          • Ok would you put either a hot or scalding cup of coffee between you legs to hold it while someone else is driving the car you are riding in? That's what that clever woman did.

            When it comes to temperature, nearly all resturants and for that fact coffee makers serve it "scalding", especially if it's a fresh pot. It doesn't move into "hot" until it's been sitting on the hot plate for 15-20minutes or so.

            She was a rather stupid woman and after getting her to talk up the case on a talk show. She ended up l

            • i have no problem putting hot coffee between my legs when i am eating breakfast in the car on my non-driving carpool days. spilling hot coffee on my pants is only mildly uncomfortable, thanks to the magic of conduction, radiation, and convection. spilling scalding coffee on your pants *COOKS YOUR SKIN*.

              wtf? coffee pots are HEATED ON THE HOT PLATE. if your coffee is getting colder sitting on the hot plate, where the hell did it get heated up in the first place?

              no, she did not lose an appeal. she entered
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Have they tried calling?
  • by bobalu ( 1921 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:29AM (#13414942)
    Make sure they can't place a phone call to *anyone* because the 911 mechanism is affected. So now even if they can give their address verbally they can't call.

    Brilliant, but there's the FCC at work.
    • Don't be an idiot.

      This hard deadline is the only way to force companies to comply with the rules. People are now *forced* to know about the dangers of their service. Without this deadline, people won't care because they are lazy by nature. They won't bother signing a piece of paper and returning it if it doesn't matter. This hard deadline makes them care.

      Sometimes it is necessary to have a heavy hand when you are talking about people's lives. Cutting off their service temporarily until people acknowledge th
      • Don't be pedantic.

        I reject the assertion that we are talking about people's lives. Our local constabulary recently published in the local newspaper a reminder for folks to NOT use 911 to find out why the emergency sirens were tooting. Look; you'll see that a LOT of 911 traffic is not of a real emergency nature.

        Sometimes it is necessary to just let people do what they will do. If VoIP -not a PHONE service- ever becomes a major particulate of the basic communications service that people use, THEN we might
      • Yeah well, you know what? Revolutionary idea - fuckers should read. How many problems could be avoided just by someone reading? I'm so tired of people getting all bent out of shape and causing the rest of us problems just because they couldn't be bothered to read something they should have.
    • It'll get their attention. Sometimes, people have real listening problems and you have to do something that affects them to get them to listen to you.

      We face this at work with hacked systems all the time. We got an e-mail that we have a compramised Linux system spewing attacks. We tracked it down, and pulled the plug, and left a note on the console saying not to plug it back in without contacting us (us being the IT guys). Some time later, it started back up again, we went up and unplugged it and yelled at
  • by moviepig.com ( 745183 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:30AM (#13414946) Homepage
    ...100,000 are yet to respond and had faced the termination of their service.

    So, in an emergency, not only can't they call 911, they can't even ring the house next door.

    (The thing about a cheap shot is that the price is always right...)

  • by The Dobber ( 576407 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:33AM (#13414968)
    Fantastic logic, that FCC.

    Since you haven't acknowledged the 911 issue, we're gonna disconnect your phone.

    Maybe the Surgeon General should adopt the same tactic for smoking, ripping out your lungs for refusing to acknoledge the dangers of cigarettes.

    This shit can only be brought to us by the same fun filled people who gave us the Iraqi war.

    • How is this not Flamebait? Oh, I see its CN doing the 'editing' this morning.
    • The FCC is fighting the Iraq war? No wooooonder....
    • The best way to get people to do something is to make them have to. My friend kept geting letters from the bank requesting his new address when he moved. He tossed them on his kitchen table and let them sit for a few weeks because he didn't care. Suddenly, his card doesn't work when he goes to lunch. Now he calls the bank, wondering why. The bank asks him for his new address and reactivates his card.

      Most of the 100,000 account holders are most likely just as plain irresponsible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:33AM (#13414972)
    now the only people who can get into VoIP are the rich companies or companies that made their bucket of cash already becuase of ever increasing regulations and other bullcrap from the government. this also affects our ability to get dirt cheap plans as well.

    VoIP cannot be trusted for emergencies.. what if your DSL or cable modem goes out? it seems like that this should be common sense, but becuase it isn't, instead of people being smart enough to keep their landlines around for emergencies, we have this insane stuff going on now.
    • VoIP cannot be trusted for emergencies.. what if your DSL or cable modem goes out?

      May be not in most of the current deployments .. But when you get IP connectivity through a (gig)Ethernet port in your wall, directly connected to the Telco/SP's equipment, this should not be an issue.

    • To me it looks like it's not the VoIP systems stability that is on trial (even though this should be a big issue), but more like the ability to trace a call. Not only is the lack of physical tracing bad in case of an emergency, but it's a potential security risk as well.

      One of the only ways I can imagine this getting fixed is if the ISP supplies the VoIP provider with an physical location for it's IP. That being said, that would again pose further security issues, so it might not be such a good idea to be
    • Yes, there is a good reason I keep that 5 pound black rotary phone around. It uses the power from the phone line and ***always*** works and works well. Oldie but goodie.
    • 'what if your DSL or cable modem goes out? '
      Well, what if you phone line is severed by a fallen tree?? What if *insert your next idea*???. Just because you regular land line has been there forever doesn't mean it won't fail - OR - are you suggesting that phone companies are not subject to service failures?
      • The problem with your argument is that analog telephone service is generally a lot more reliable than DSL or cable. Putting VoIP over DSL or cable is yet another level of unreliability. Also, turnaround to repair is regulated for telephone service (IIRC, in my state, 1 day), it is not regulated for broadband, I've known people where their cable service is dead for nearly a week before they get around to fixing it.
        • And I've seen the opposite of what you are stating in a couple areas. You are right that the reliability levels are different, but the phone system started off with problems (just like VOIP will have problems) and you consider plain phones to be reliable, when infact nothing more that a chewing squirrel can screw your day up. Thing you missed is that anyone can spout off many What if..? scenerios. What if a resistor goes bad? What if you spill water on your phone? What if *insert your favorite*?

          How does t
    • VoIP cannot be trusted for emergencies.. what if your DSL or cable modem goes out?

      What if? The problem is that people have certain expectations of a communication service, whether they are realistic or not - they want their cake and to be able to eat it too. VoIP providers are either going to have to come up with solutions, or admit that they aren't ready to replace your current telephony service and hence can't claim to be a "Telephony solution".
      • 911 is a fairly recent addition to the "telephony solution" mix. I reject the notion that the mature (legal sense) American cannot differentiate between communications devices, a list which includes such as the Cobra MicroTalk. With its 8 mi. range, ALL of my town and most (in theory ;) of the surrounding municipalities are reachable. Yes, they do not look like a "phone" but they look -enough that one might grab it in a real emergency- a whole LOT like a cell phone.

        So, what is a phone? Should ALL commun
        • Perhaps MY solution mix does not need to include E911, but rather it's more important to me to have call waiting, simultaneous ring, 3-way calling, voice mail that can email, call rejection, web configuration of my options, great rates, and local number portability.

          Great, but short sighted. What do you do the day there is a fire, when you have replaced your regular phone service with this. What happens if all your neighbours did the same?
    • instead of people being smart enough to keep their landlines around for emergencies, we have this insane stuff going on now.

      Yeah, so everyone should pay 30 bucks a month to maintain a local landline that they never use, JUST IN CASE there's an emergency?
    • Completely untrue.

      We're a small ISP (under 10k customers) and have successfully launched VoIP using only open source products -- Asterisk, SER, etc.

      Obviously there are some expenses involved, and you need someone who can set up the software; but nothing preventing smaller companies from giving it a go.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Emergencies? Where's the batsignal when you need it?
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @10:27AM (#13415187) Homepage Journal
    I advise the NYC City Council's Tech committee, which oversees City laws about such things. We had a hearing last year about E911/VoIP, at which several telco execs (RBOCs and VoIP) testified, including Citron, Vonage CEO. They all assured us this wasn't a big problem, that only a few people hadn't registered their location with the website, that though their technical overhead in doing it right was huge, they were doing a good job anyway, voluntarily, please don't hurt us with your laws, don't make VoIP a "phone company" by law.

    I've had Vonage for a couple of years. My mobile phone service is totally reliable in my apartment, and it's the phone I'd use in an emergency - it's my backup if my dual-WAN for my Vonage phone were to somehow fail (like another giant, long blackout). So I didn't register my 911 location with Vonage. Last year, a few months after the hearing, I got an email requesting I register. I tried to do so on their website, but the form failed. I emailed them with a problem report. They emailed back, a real person offering to take my info in reply email and they're enter it for me. I blew it off to see what would happen. No one ever contacted me again, though there was now a live person at Vonage who knew that my info wasn't in the system, though I wanted it to be. They didn't follow up on the common case of their reply getting lost in email glitches. I'm sure that at least tens of thousands of other New Yorkers with Vonage also had no E911 location info registered, but always believed they could pick up their phone and dial 911 just like a regular phone. Which, in a dangerous city like NYC, with regular crime, fires, blackouts, planebombs, and the highest level of terrorist activity/risk in the USA, is an unacceptable risk.

    Last month I got a barrage of email from Vonage, facing the FCC deadline, insisting that I register or waive registration. Twice a day. And automated phonecalls. Threatening to cut off my service if I didn't register. So I did. But it was very long overdue.

    Vonage has had my phone number for two years. They should have had the automated calls, prompting me to register or waive, right from the beginning. The telephone adapter box should ring the phone every time it's power cycled (relocated), asking me to go to the website, or finally to speak my name and address (or waiver) into a recording, which Vonage transcribes to their database. Transcription costs something like $0.25 for an address; Vonage could tack that charge on my bill. Why don't they do it? Because they don't care, until the FCC threatens to take away their toy.

    "We don't care. We don't have to care. We're the phone company." - Evangeline (as played by Lilly Tomlin)
    • Whoops:

      "We don't care. We don't have to. (snort) We're the Phone Company." - Lily "Ernestine" Tomlin [connect-9.com]
    • The way Vonage is going about this is slimy at best.

      They send out email saying, "go to this web page and acknowledge this FCC required notice, or we'll cut off your service."

      When you get to the web page, it has the notice and a link to a new terms of service agreement. A side-by-side comparison of the new TOS reveals that every change made is worse for the subscriber and better for Vonage. No way am I agreeing to this thing.

      At the bottom of the web page, there are two checkboxes. One says, "I acknowledge th
      • Do you have the diffs on the TOS?

        And who do you plan to switch to, which is as reliable and cheap as Vonage?
        • I don't have the old TOS here (it's on a hard drive at home), but I'll find it and follow up with the diffs. Truth is, it's the principle of the matter that offends me far more than the changes themselves -- they're artificially coupling the 911 notification with a TOS change.

          In terms of finding someone price competitive with Vonage, I'm switching to iConnectHere (http://www.iconnecthere.com/ [iconnecthere.com]). They're the consumer arm of DeltaThree, who has been doing VoIP since 1996.
          • I know the CEO of iCH personally. DeltaThree will probably last, but I wouldn't bet on iCH living more than another few months, unless they try to do something different, like a new app. If you prefer their TOS, they might be worth having for a while, now that phone# portability means switching is just a day or two of research, and an hour to actually switch. Please post the TOS diffs when you have them - they will be interesting.
          • FYI, I've been using iCH for about a month and their reliability is horrible. At least 50% of my incoming calls go to voicemail instead of my phone-- and yes, my Asterisk system is keeping registered just fine.
    • A Hearing last year would have predated the FCC mandate***. Why would you expect any VoIP company to enforce rules that were not in effect?

      Lesee if I got this right; you received an email 'offering' to solve your problem, at which point you detached your self from the process. And you fault THEM ?! And this was LAST year...

      Last month you got a barrage... think it was because the FCC changed the rules about that time, hmmmm?

      Given the above, I suspect I'm taking a leap of faith, but
      • Why should they care? Because, as they stated in the public record before the NYC City Council committee, they don't want New Yorkers to rely on 911 only to get into trouble because it wasn't configured. Did you skip the part where I said they said they were "voluntarily complying", but obviously weren't? Of course you did - because you're apologizing for their corporate malfeasance and lies that cover up the huge risk they've created for New Yorkers, to whom they're selling their service as "it's just a re
        • I have no experience with Vonage nor association with any related entity. There are, of course, others.... |}

          Back to your seat. Thanks for helping out.

          I do not countenance, I simply believe the FCC Mandate is contary to the will of the people. if this conversation helps to clarify American will or not, I simply state my opinion.

          You seem to want to separate the only FCC order into these parts. It's not about Vonage, but about the ability for VoIP to survive. It is truly that simple. Loaded with the same
          • You're not getting it. You're splitting legal and tech hairs.

            People expect to dial 911 on their phones and get a fire truck immediately. Vonage told us that it wasn't a problem, but it is. Since I was involved in the government oversight, and I had a backup, I tracked the downward spiral to see what happens to regular, non-tech people dealing with Vonage's 911 compliance plan. And I found that many people were unwittingly left without an emergency phone. Which is extremely serious. Once again, not in my cas
    • Which, in a dangerous city like NYC, with regular crime, fires, blackouts, planebombs, and the highest level of terrorist activity/risk in the USA, is an unacceptable risk.

      You know NYC wouldn't be half as dangerous if they allowed law-abiding citizens to have a gun. Besides if people don't want 911 to be able to find them, that is their problem, not yours.

      This whole E911 thing is a bunch of BS. The first thing 911 asks you anyway is "What is your Location" So there isn't any need for this you must re

      • You know nothing about NYC. When it was easier to get guns here, there were many more people shooting each other. Guns were pulled all the time, people were shot, bystanders were shot. Now there aren't as many guns. Not nearly as many people are shot. And all violent crime has decreased, by double-digit percentages. So there goes your entire gunlusting theory.

        You also know nothing about 911. The working system automatically knows here you are. So when you're in real trouble, and can't say where you are, the
  • Network Addresses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumling ( 94709 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @10:29AM (#13415198) Homepage
    Last I heard, everything on the Internet already has an address. Since we have these things called databases, we can match up a MAC address and a billing acount, why the heck can't we get all these combined together? Of course, we'd all need to have a static IP address, and we all know that that's impossible unless you pay extra. MOST of the people I know don't move their VOIP boxes around much anyway (oh, they all say how they can, but I've never seen it happen). I think the FCC is really getting ready for the rollout of the major player's VOIP systems, and the wholesale changeover of POTS to VOIP. This time will be looked at as a bump in the road for the likes of the RBOCS and Cable companies. Of course, the FCC will get lobbied by someone claiming to represent the 911 call centers of the world (but funded by the big telecom players) to get the portable/3rd party solutions outlawed, since they are hard to track for 911 service, and they'll walk in with their integrated database solution (with a 10. address on their network).

    I really don't understand the big deal about VOIP anyway. Sure, cheap international phone calls are nice, but that's still a niche market. My cell phone has a boatload of minutes, lots of competition, and nationwide calling without long distance fees. The ONLY reason I could see moving to a landline again is so that 2 people could be on an extension at the same time, but there are devices out there that allow cells to connect to landline infrastructure in the home. As far as the bandwidth needed to move everyone to a cell phone, I don't think that's an issue. After all, I see many people just hanging on phones all the time in cars, walking down the street, etc. I don't think they'd be sitting at home yacking away like that, because they're on their way to someplace. The rest of us are going to follow normal, predictable calling patterns, which require a normal precictable engineering solution (and maybe yet another spectrum auction).

    • Last I heard, everything on the Internet already has an address. Since we have these things called databases, we can match up a MAC address and a billing acount, why the heck can't we get all these combined together? Of course, we'd all need to have a static IP address, and we all know that that's impossible unless you pay extra.

      Just one little problem with this, MAC addresses are never seen outside of a network, they are only used inside a network. And static IPs don't help if someone takes their phone a

      • And static IPs don't help if someone takes their phone adapter with them on a business trip either.

        Ok, sure, some people take their phone adapter with them on business trips. Most people don't. The driving force for VOIP is cheap phone calls, not portability. Portable devices will always be harder to locate. The cell phone solutions may work, but only if you're outside and able to see 4 or more GPS sats (the tower data just helps the GPS get a lock faster). If you call 911 from the basement, it is unlikely

        • > The cell phone solutions may work, but only if you're outside and able to see 4 or more GPS sats (the tower data just helps the GPS get a lock faster).

          WTF are you talking about?
          1: Cellphones do not use GPS for positioning, your position is triangulated from the carrier towers.
          2: You need only 2 GPS satellites to get a location. 3 and you'll get the altitude as a bonus. 4 is just icing on the cake.
    • ...and the wholesale changeover of POTS to VOIP.

      I sure hope the FCC isn't going to allow the circuit switched PSTN to be decommissioned and VoIP to BE the only phone system.

      Thats NUTS, sounds like something Michael Powell would do, I am glad he is gone, though is brother Colin was a very good leader, Michael scared the hell out of me.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @10:30AM (#13415201)
    Being disconnected from 911 because you refused to acknowledge a letter saying that you run the risk of being disconnected from 911 if you rely on VOIP.

    Only a world-class bureaucracy could come up with this idea.
  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @11:16AM (#13415475)
    As recently as 5 years ago, some towns in NJ and PA didn't have 911 service. Payphones (and phones of people who got them) had little stickers:
    FIRE: xxx-xxxx POLICE: xxx-xxxx AMBULANCE: xxx-xxxx
    Also, the town where I went to college had 911 service, but it was just forwarded to the main desk at the police station - at night, it was forwarded to the police station in a nearby larger town since there was no desk sargeant on duty at night. No fancy county-wide control center or whatever, just a call-forwarding service. I have no idea how cell phones worked there since I didn't have one at the time. (Finally got one like 3 weeks ago because I needed phone #s in both NYC and NJ).
    -b.
  • How exactly is it that the FCC is able to dictate what VOIP companies must do? Why is nobody questioning their "authority"?
  • There is a flaw in VOIP (lame 911 support). They're working on fixing it.

    In the meantime, for the saftey of its users, the FCC requires the customer to *acknowledge* they understand the limitations.

    I have Vonage and received an e-mail (or it appears when you log in) and you click a checkbox and you're done.

    What's so hard about this?

    If it requires Vonage to shut your phone service off to get your attention and all you have to do is click a checkbox to turn it back on, I don't see the harm.

    Extending the deadl
  • What about the costs (in $, time, lives, whatever) to the EMS unit(s) that replies to an E911 call placed from a SIP phone in Indonesia but registered as a Peoria phone number. "Help, there are 5 masked men with explosives and machine guns bursting through the windows right now. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" That might make for an exciting Saturday night in Peoria.

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