Are you Cheering or Jeering the e911 Decision?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Are you Cheering or Jeering the e911 Decision?

So are you cheering or jeering the FCC's e911 decision? I know a lot of VoIP service providers are not happy about this decision. Although, now they can probably charge customers more money over and beyond what it costs them to provide it.

Still, this will make it harder for the smaller VoIP service providers to compete or even enter the marketplace. Further, this means more cost to the consumer. I just don't buy the argument "If cars can only be sold with seat belts, then phone service must be sold with E-911". If I hate weating seat belts I can at least go out and buy a motorcycle where there is no seat belt requirement.

With this FCC decision, customers have no choice but to accept government mandated e911. I guess in long haul it's probably a good thing. Safety requirements and regulations are a part of almost every industry. Still, with VoIP being a relative nascent industry, I would have liked to have seen the FCC keep its hands off for a little while longer. Cell phones which have been around a heck of a lot longer than VoIP do not have e911 and they have their own 911 issues. Further, this decision doesn't resolve the issue of when you take your analog telephony adaptor on the road. If you dial 911, the police, fire, ambulance will be headed to your home not your current remote location. So what's next? Geographic IP mapping to exact location? Better yet, why don't we have the FCC mandate that all ATAs must have a GPS tracker embedded? Oh wait, GPS doesn't work indoors... or does it?

Why not make things simple and just embed GPS trackers in everyone's right hand? This would solve the problem of whether you are dialing from a cellphone, payphone, VoIP phone, etc. As a side benefit the U.S. government can track U.S. citizens, illegal immigrants, and yes, even terrorists. Force all airline visitors to require the chip be implanted when going through U.S. customs and get rid of all physical credit cards - just swipe your hand across a reader and you are billed automatically. Would sure solve the multi-billion dollar credit card fraud issues. If a robbery happens or a terrorist action happens in a particular location, the government can go to the GPS tracking records to see who was in the area. Who cares if this is the Bible's predicted "Mark of the Beast"? I invite the apocalypse! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee! (quote from Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)

Well, anyway, at least one VoIP service provider, namely Covad is cheering. Boy, didn't take them long to get this release out! LOL! Check it out:

COVAD Applauds FCC Decision to Require All VoIP Providers to Implement ''Enhanced 911'' Service

Covad Already Builds E-911 Service into All of Its Managed VoIP Phone Lines 

SAN JOSE, Calif.-- May 19, 2005--Covad Communications Group, Inc. (OTCBB:COVD), a leading nationwide provider of integrated voice and data communications, today applauded the Federal Communications Commission's ruling that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers must include enhanced 911 service to their customers. The unanimous decision came at this morning's open FCC meeting.

E-911 service pinpoints a distressed caller's location so emergency services can respond immediately. Covad provides E-911 service on all of its managed VoIP phone lines.

"Enhanced 911 (E911) services have saved countless lives since their introduction," said Jeff Ahlquist, Covad vice president, product management and development. "We recognized this when we launched Covad business-class VoIP service; making E911 a fundamental feature on every single one of our managed VoIP phone lines was crucial. Covad applauds Chairman Martin and the FCC for today's decision."

Covad uses turn-key E-911 service provided by third-party vendors. These providers work with the local phone companies and others to update end-user information in industry telephone databases such as E911 and directory listing services. Covad has built this service into its business-class managed VoIP product from the day it was introduced to the market.

"These services charge per customer," explained Ahlquist. "Because Covad's business customers often have 10-200 users at a single customer site, the cost per line for E-911 services is much lower than it would be for consumer VoIP offerings. Business-class lines also provide higher margins than consumer lines, therefore the incremental cost of E911 is much less significant."

Covad does not provide E-911 on the very small percentage of unmanaged lines that it services. "We foresee no difficulties in extending this service to the few customers we have who are on unmanaged lines," said Ahlquist.

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