Court: VoIP E911 Deadline Stands

by Roy Mark

A federal appeals court rejects request to delay FCC deadline.

A federal appeals court today refused to delay the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Nov. 28 deadline for all Internet telephone companies to supply emergency calling with their services.

After that date, the FCC will bar all Voice over IP providers from offering Internet-based phone service in areas the providers can not fully provision E911 emergency calling.

Last month, VoIP provider Nuvio of Overland Park, Kan., filed a motion for a temporary stay of the FCC order, contending the mandate is impossible to meet and will be financially disastrous for the emerging industry.

"While I'm greatly disappointed in today's decision by the U S Court of Appeals, I am heartened by the fact that the court's decision did not address the substantive issues in this case," Jason Talley, president and CEO of Nuvio, said in a statement.

"We will still proceed with our appeal and still believe that the FCC's E911 Order for VoIP service providers is arbitrary and capricious."

Citing public-safety concerns, the FCC ruled in May that VoIP services that interconnect with the public switched telephone network (PSTN) must provide E911 operators with the locations and telephone numbers of callers. The FCC gave the VoIP providers 120 days to comply with the order.

The FCC also ordered VoIP providers to disconnect their existing customers by Nov. 28 even if they could not offer them full E911 services, a decision the agency backed down from last week.

"Internet telephone providers do not have to cut off U.S. subscribers even if they are not provided enhanced 911 emergency service," the new FCC order states.

However, the FCC stressed, "We do expect that such providers will discontinue marketing VoIP service, and accepting new customers for their service, in all areas where they are not transmitting 911 calls."

Nuvio's Talley said Tuesday that although the FCC decided against forcing VoIP providers to disconnect existing customers, the decision "does not ameliorate the impact of the forced withdrawal of our VoIP service from the marketplace."

He added, "The fact of the matter is this is: the FCC's E911 requirements will translate into less choice for consumers and less technical innovation for our country."

This article was originally published on Wednesday Nov 16th 2005