I have heard nothing but complaining from VoIP service providers about the lack of response from the FCC on questions regarding implementing E911. I have heard it here at the Voice Peering Summit today and at Comptel at an IPCC meeting. The FCC according o some just doesn’t have the bandwidth to deal with all the technical issues such as is Skype going to have to provide E911. What about SkypeOut or SkypeIn. The levels of complexities in VoIP are staggering and I feel for the FCC.
Still the common complaint about unfairness starts at not getting enough response from the FCC to why the wireless industry has ten years o do something we have to do in months. There is limited logic to this approach… At least on the one hand. On the other, this approach makes people scramble to get to the best possible 911 solution as soon as possible.
But of course that isn’t fair to VoIP providers. As an industry we need to be behind Nuvio for fighting to get the FCC to treat us as an industry fairly. We can’t solve the E911 problem correctly without feedback from the FCC. If there is a need for E911 support in the VoIP industry and it needs to happen overnight then the FCC will have to make it a priority to respond and work with our industry in tandem so we save lives without stifling the investment in IP communications. As the 911 issue has dragged on, investment in the industry has slowed. This may artificially retard the market and it is unfair to consumers to reduce industry innovation due to slow response times.
This is the brief release put out by Nuvio today.
Nuvio Asks Federal Court for Partial Stay of FCC VoIP- E911 Order
Overland Park, Kan., — Nuvio Corporation, a leading provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, today announced that it has filed with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit an emergency request for a partial stay of the E911 Order for VoIP Service Providers. Because of the looming November 28, 2005 deadline Nuvio felt that it had no other choice but to ask the Court to intervene. The court issued an immediate order requiring the FCC to respond by November 8th at noon. Nuvio and others have made repeated requests for clarification and direction from the FCC on this matter, but to date have received no response.
"We had hoped that the FCC would give guidance in this matter, much like they did in the affirmative compliance deadlines," commented Jason Talley, president and CEO of Nuvio. "Unfortunately, either the FCC and staff has been unable or unwilling to answer rudimentary questions about how the deadline will affect users on November 28. Since they remain silent, we have no choice but to ask the Court to stay these arbitrary and untenable rules."
"What we have been seeking from the FCC, is some acknowledgment of parity between VoIP and wireless 911 deployments. Wireless had 36 million users at the time 911 mandates were enacted and wireless has been given over 12 years to implement a solution. By comparison, VoIP had, at the most several million users, and has been given a paltry 120 days to design and implement a nationwide solution. This is not only unfair in comparison to wireless, but potentially disastrous to this new technology. The FCC’s apparent decision to wait until the last possible moment to comment is not only reckless, but could potentially needlessly endanger lives," Talley stated.
If I hadn’t heard the above sentiment over and over from others, then perhaps I may not have noticed this press release. But Nuvio has a point that others are voicing in private. It is time for politicians to treat VoIP as what it is… Something that is helping consumers by allowing more flexible communications at much lower prices.
We have seen that the aftermath of natural disasters like hurricanes are environments where VoIP shines. Companies like Inveneo, Sphere Communications and others are using VoIP technology to help restore communications and order in these scenarios. I hope the FCC works with our industry more closely to allow us to wring out all the benefits VoIP has to offer with whatever life-saving features need to be added to ensure safety and security for users worldwide.