The Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill that not only gives VoIP providers access to the traditional e911 network, but also set new guidelines for FCC regulations. The bill allows VoIP providers to use the e911 network that is already in existence and used by wireless providers, instead of forcing them to work around it. In accordance with the old bill and regulations, VoIP providers had until November 28 to comply with e911 regulations and would have had to disconnect service to any customers who did not formally recognize possible limitations in accessing 911 services.
With the passage of the new bill, the FCC will now have 120 days to formulate new regulations that are "technologically and operationally feasible," effectively erasing the November 28 deadline. If the bill becomes law, the FCC could no longer require that VoIP providers disconnect any customers that subscribed before 2006 and submitted a written or electronic acknowledgment of possible 911 limitations. The bill must still be approved by the rest of Congress and the president before VoIP providers can breathe a sigh of relief.
For more on the Senate's proposed solution to the e911 VoIP issue:
- check out this article from Red Herring