FCC mulls new 911 rules for VoIP service providers

The topic of new 911 rules for VoIP service providers has moved higher on the FCC's agenda.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking issued last week, the FCC is considering four new requirements:

1) That existing 911 rules apply to two-way interconnected VoIP services as well as to outbound-only interconnected VoIP services;
2) That all interconnected VoIP providers provide automatic location information rather than only relying on where subscribers have registered their locations to be;
3) That improved location accuracy be employed for calls made indoors, which includes large office buildings;
4) That emerging location technologies play a role in locating VoIP 911 calls.

The fourth requirement may include non-VoIP providers playing a role in supporting 911 locations, and the FCC is also looking at landline broadband providers supporting location services for over-the-top VoIP providers--which is likely to receive pushback from broadband companies.  

"The most efficient and accurate [automatic location information] solution may require that both the broadband provider and the over-the-top VoIP service provider play a part," the FCC wrote in the NPRM.

Still, a number of commenters have argued that the existing system for locating VoIP calls works well. Vonage has stated that it has worked with public-safety entities to ensure its equipment is compatible with their equipment, which has resulted in the delivery of more location information than even what mobile operators provide.

However, VoIP 911 calls are susceptible to fraud as callers can falsify their location information and use up public-safety resources.

For more:
- see this Connected Planet article

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