Just two weeks ago, when the FCC deadline hit for VoIP firms to 'fess up on what percentage of their customers really had access to E911, Vonage (who, back in the summer time had said it would be no problem at all to offer full E911 compliance by the end of November) admitted that only about a quarter of their customers were actually connected to an E911 system. So, imagine my surprise today to see News.com reporting the following headline: Vonage says it's E911 compliant, which states: "Vonage said on Wednesday it now is fully compliant with federal regulations requiring phone service operators to provide enhanced 911 services to their customers." That would be impressive, if they really figured out how to get the other 75% of their customers connected to E911 in just two weeks. The details, however, aren't quite so friendly. Vonage did, indeed, put out two press releases this morning -- but they don't actually say what the News.com reporter implies. The first one says that they've successfully expanded E911 support to 80 new counties -- though they don't give an indication of what percentage coverage that includes. The second press release states that regular 911 service -- not E911 service -- is now available across their network. That's quite different than the federal mandate -- which is clearly about enhanced 911 service, not regular 911 service. Of course, we've pointed out before that it's a bit silly for the FCC to require E911 compliance when they've held off requiring it for others, like mobile operators, but it would seem that a reporter covering this topic should know the difference between the two. It's good to see Vonage at least offer 911 service -- but they're clearly still not in compliance with the FCC mandate. Most likely the FCC will continue looking the other way, but, as Vonage notes, they're still going to need to spend $50 million to get compliant. Update: It's not just News.com, either. Techweb has a report up that seems similarly confused about what's really going on.
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