Court Says Arbitrary VoIP E911 Deadline Can Stand… Even As The FCC Ignores It
from the and-that-means-what-exactly? dept
Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from AT&T, from whom I buy VoIP service. They let me know that they’re working hard to get E911 service running and they can offer it to me today on one small condition: I have to give up my existing phone number. A big part of the reason I signed up for VoIP in the first place was to keep the existing phone number I’ve had for many years, even though I was moving — so that seemed like a pretty big catch. I called AT&T, and was told that, even though the letter made it look mandatory, I could keep my old phone number, but I wouldn’t be able to get E911 service yet. This would have been a problem since the FCC had originally decreed that anyone without E911 service would be cut off by November 28th — except that the FCC decided that its November 28th deadline wasn’t so much of a deadline after all. However, there was already a lawsuit about the deadline, and the court has now said that the deadline can stand. The only issue is that the deadline isn’t the same any more. A week ago, the deadline meant that I would be losing my VoIP service unless I changed my phone number by November 28th. Now, it seems to only mean that VoIP providers can no longer market VoIP service in places where they can’t offer E911 — even if they offer perfectly decent 911 service. This, despite the FCC giving mobile operators years and years (and delay after delay) in getting their own E911 service in place.