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FCC Ruling on Emergency Calls through VoIP; Congressional Activities

To: Consumer Contact List
From: Karen Peltz Strauss, RERC-TA
Re: Consumer Contact List - FCC Ruling on Emergency Calls Through VoIP Services; Congressional activities
Date: May 22, 2005

1. FCC Order on Emergency Calls through VoIP - On May 19, 2005, the FCC approved an order to require VoIP providers to provide E-911 (emergency) service to individuals making VoIP calls that connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This ruling has significance for deaf and hard of hearing people who use various types of text or video services to connect to the PSTN via relay services. A link to the public notice announcing this decision and the text of Chairman Martin's statement are listed below. The order has not yet been released.

COMMISSION REQUIRES INTERCONNECTED VOIP PROVIDERS TO PROVIDE ENHANCED 911 SERVICE. The FCC took steps to protect consumers by requiring that certain providers of VOIP phone service supply enhanced 911 (E911) emergency calling capabilities to their customers as a mandatory feature of the service.. News Release. (Dkt No 04-36, 05-196). Adopted: 05/19/2005. News Media Contact: Mark Wigfield at (202) 418-0253, Mark.Wigfield@fcc.gov WCB. Contact Christi Shewman at (202) 418-1686
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A2.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A3.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A4.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A5.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A2.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A3.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A4.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A5.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A1.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A2.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A3.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A4.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-258818A5.txt>
* * * * *

2. Congressional revisions to the Communications Act - Congress is now contemplating ways that the Communications Act can be revised to provide a regulatory structure for Internet-based services. As a first step, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet held a series of hearings on proposals for the new regulatory scheme. On April 27, 2005, I testified at one of those hearings on behalf of various disability organizations (note that this was not on behalf of the RERC-TA because of lobbying restrictions imposed on entities that receive federal funding). I have included a link here to a copy of my testimony for those who are interested. The House has said that it is interested in getting a bill to the House floor by the August recess. However, House staffers understand that it will take much longer than that to get something passed by both the House and the Senate.


This page last updated:May 23, 2005

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