VoIP providers ask court for 911 stay
Four voice-over-IP (VoIP) providers yesterday announced they filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for a partial stay of the FCC’s E-911 order that requires VoIP providers to provide E-911 service to all customers by Nov. 28.
Nuvio CEO Jason Talley said the VoIP providers—Nuvio, Lingo, i2 Telecom and Lightyear Network Solutions—agree with the portion of the FCC order that requires the companies to proactively inform customers that their VoIP 911 services differ from traditional 911 offerings from traditional telephony carriers. However, they do object to the Nov. 28 deadline for implementing a nationwide solution.
“That’s neither technically or operationally feasible,” Talley said, noting technical barriers such as access to selective routers and the fact that it would require VoIP providers to invest “tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars” if a technical solution was available.
As of Nov. 28, business-centric Nuvio likely will only have “30% coverage” for its customers—probably twice as much as any of the other residential-centric litigants, Talley said. He said he believes it will take 18 to 24 more months to cover all urban U.S. areas, and many rural areas could take longer.
“It’s going to take a little bit longer,” Talley said. “You can’t just snap your fingers and make it happen.”
Talley said the appeals court has required the FCC to file a response to the stay request by Tuesday. A decision on the case is expected by Nov. 18, he said.
In May, the FCC passed the order in what was the first major action under new Chairman Kevin Martin. The order was taken after several VoIP customers were unable to reach emergency services because their VoIP phones did not provide 911 service.
Talley and other VoIP officials have said the rapid timetable for VoIP 911 is unfair, given that cellular operators have not yet provided nationwide E-911 coverage more than a decade after being mandated.