Unclear Whether Internet Providers Met Deadline To Connect 911 Calls
It is not clear how many Internet phone providers met a Monday deadline for compliance with a new Federal Communications Commission rule that requires companies providing phone service through the Internet via Voice over Internet Protocol to ensure that callers can connect to local 911 dispatchers, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
The agency said Internet phone providers would be barred from signing up new customers or marketing their services if they did not demonstrate compliance with the rule by the deadline.
However, FCC spokesperson David Fiske this week declined to comment on whether the agency would enforce the penalties. "At this stage, the agency is focused on the compliance filings by VoIP providers," he said.
Prior to the deadline, companies projected that two-thirds of Internet phone users would have access to 911 by Monday, according to a survey by industry group VON Coalition.
Officials for Vonage -- the largest VoIP provider, with about one million customers -- declined comment on the company's compliance level. Officials for AT&T, which has about 57,000 VoIP customers, also declined comment. SunRocket, which has more than 50,000 customers, said about 96% of customers have 911 service.
There are about 3.6 million VoIP users in the U.S., roughly half of whom receive service through cable television providers that already provide 911 connections, according to the AP/Mercury News (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 11/29).