House bill would give VoIP companies direct access to 911 system

11 October 2007

If approved, it could expand VoIP phone service, coverage across U.S.

Anyone making a 911 call in the U.S.

Anyone making a 911 call in the U.S. today using a voice-over-IP
(VoIP) telephone isn't directly calling the local 911 center. Instead,
the call has to go through a third party, such as a competitive local
exchange carrier, who then connects that emergency call to the local
911 operator.

The reason for a middleman is simple -- current Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
rules only allow traditional telephone service carriers to connect
directly with the 911 system backbone to avoid swamping the service
during emergencies. That leaves VoIP phone companies without a direct
way to provide 911 service on their own.

A new bill introduced recently in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to change that to allow VoIP companies to offer 911 services to customers.

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