The FCC today backed off its threat to force VoIP providers to disconnect customers who didn’t acknowledge that it may be hard to reach 911 from a VoIP phone. It’s easy to understand the FCC’s position – it wants to ensure that VoIP growth doesn’t lead to folks getting disconnected from emergency services. Unlike conventional phones, which can only be used from a set place, VoIP phones can be plugged into wherever there is a data network and work there. That means you can have your work phone ring at your house (“Yes, boss, of course I am in the office, enjoy your business trip. What? No, that is not the “Andy Griffith Show” you hear in the background, it's Fred talking to a customer.”).
The challenge with the flexibility is it makes it harder for 911 to know where you are.
The FCC’s solution was to force VoIP customers who didn’t acknowledge that to lose their service. Hmmm. Now how does that help them in an emergency?
By the way, the overwhelming majority of the roughly 2.7 million VoIP customers in the United States have met the FCC’s mandate.