Feds Mandate 911 Access for VoIP

The FCC has enacted a new regulation that requires Internet phone—aka VoIP—providers to supply customers with 911 access. The new regulation gives VoIP providers 120 days to certify that callers can reach an emergency dispatcher when they dial 911. You can use VoIP phones anywhere because they use the Internet to make calls. However, routing of emergency calls is difficult because the caller's location can't be easily determined. The order requires providers to make it easy for users to update their location and callback numbers when they travel. If callers don't update their location, the last registered location will be sent to emergency dispatchers. However, for the process to work properly, VoIP providers will have to work with regional telephone carriers to gain access to the 911 phone network. The new FCC regulation is expected to make it easier for the providers to do so. The regulation also requires VoIP providers to inform customers about the capabilities and limitations of the emergency service that VoIP phones provide, including the fact that VoIP phones don't work in cases of power or Internet-connection failures.

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