TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Internet Phone Carriers Still Seeking 911 Replies

Internet Phone Carriers Still Seeking 911 Replies

Jeremy Pelofsky (
Fri, 12 Aug 2005 15:29:08 -0500

By Jeremy Pelofsky

Some of the top U.S. Internet phone providers told U.S. regulators
this week they are still trying to obtain acknowledgments from
customers that they know the limitations of dialing 911 with their

Some customers of Internet phone service, known as Voice Over Internet
Protocol (VOIP), have had trouble getting help when dialing the
emergency number 911, which prompted the Federal Communications
Commission to order changes.

Unlike traditional phone service, not all Internet phones provide 911
dispatchers with the location of callers, and some calls have been
routed to administrative lines that are not always monitored.

The FCC in May ordered companies to fix those issues by late November
and, in the interim, to get acknowledgments from all customers that
they understand those service limitations. Analysts estimate there are
more than 2 million VOIP customers.

Vonage Holdings Corp., the biggest U.S. Internet phone provider, said
it has received acknowledgments from more than 90 percent of its
customers but was unable to predict whether it would achieve the 100
percent goal by an August 29 deadline.

"Vonage is continuing its campaign to contact and obtain affirmative
acknowledgment from all of its customers," the company told the FCC.
Dozens of carriers reported that they were contacting customers via
letters, calls and e-mails.

"Vonage expects to send out at least one e-mail per week and to
continue to restrict account access of subscribers who have not yet
submitted an affirmative acknowledgment," it said in an August 10

AT&T Corp. said that it had received affirmative replies from 77
percent of its customers as of August 9, but about 10 percent of its
Internet phone customers may not provide acknowledgments by the

Net2Phone said 98 percent of its own customers had provided
acknowledgments and the company was still working on the remaining 2

The FCC initially ordered companies to obtain acknowledgments from all
customers by July 29 but then gave companies an extra month as long as
they filed a report detailing their efforts.

The FCC said only those companies that filed reports about their
compliance efforts by August 10 would escape enforcement action for
violations until the end of the month.

The agency said service should be disconnected for those customers who
have not provided an acknowledgment by then.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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