TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: ISP Telephone Providers Ask For Further Delay in FCC Cut Off

ISP Telephone Providers Ask For Further Delay in FCC Cut Off

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 26 Aug 2005 10:19:08 -0500

A coalition of Internet telephone service companies asked the
U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to modify a rule
that could force them to cut off service to some customers by next

The FCC in May ordered Internet phone service providers to ensure
emergency 911 calls go directly to emergency dispatchers and provide
the location of callers by November 29, four months after the order
became effective.

The agency also required companies to get acknowledgments from all
subscribers that they understood the type of 911 service available,
and that providers should disconnect anyone who fails to reply by
August 29.

The decision came after the FCC heard tear-filled testimony from
parents who only were able to reach administrative offices when they
dialed 911 with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services. Since
many VOIP services can be used anywhere a person has a high-speed
Internet connection, knowing a caller's location can be difficult.

The VON Coalition, which includes AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., both
providers of VOIP services, said in a letter to the FCC that
disconnecting customers could cause more harm than good, as many who
have not responded already have 911 service.

Cutting customers off "would inevitably impede commerce and cause
consumer inconvenience and could even leave VOIP customers stranded in
an emergency," the coalition said.

"We are not aware of any other circumstances where the Commission has
required service providers to terminate service to their customers,
possibly leaving them without any communications services," it said.

An FCC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Several other companies and organizations have also asked the FCC to
reconsider its cutoff order, and one smaller provider has challenged
the rules in court. Florida state officials have warned the FCC that
disconnecting VOIP customers could endanger people during hurricane

UBS analyst John Hodulik estimates there were about 2.5 million
U.S. VOIP customers at the end of the second quarter, meaning that
even if 90 percent responded by the deadline, 250,000 could lose

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

To discuss this item with others, go to our chatroom at:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Angus TeleManagement Group: "Telecom Update #494, August 26, 2005"
Go to Previous message: Rob Slade: "Book Review: "Corporate Computer and Network Security", R. Panko"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page