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FCC Delays e911 Notification Deadline

The FCC has given cable companies another 30 days—until Sept. 28—before it will start forcing them to cut off VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone customers who have not been sufficiently warned of the limitations of e911 service.

But that extension will only be granted to companies that filed a progress report by Aug. 10, as the FCC directed. For anyone else, the Aug. 31 deadline still pertains.

Specifically, cable operators, telephone companies and others have to inform their subs of any circumstances under which e911 might not be available through interconnected VoIP service (from remote locations, for example); obtain and keep a record of the affirmative confirmation of that warning from every VoIP sub, and distribute warning stickers to each sub outlining e911 limitations.

Suggesting that lives continue to be put at risk, the FCC put Internet phone service providers on notice back in May that they must make a workable e911 emergency service part of their Internet phone service offerings.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin led a 5-0 vote adopting the order after a parade of witnesses at the FCC's May meeting talked of children dying and family members put at risk by VoIP e911 service that did not link to qualified operators.

The item requires that interconnected VoIP services—ones that permit calls to begin and end on traditional public switched telephone networks (PSTN)—deliver 911 calls to a local emergency operator as a standard feature rather than an option.

It also required the notification, with Aug. 10 the deadline for updating the FCC on their progress.