FCC Rules Regarding Emergency Calls for VoIP Service Providers (E911) [4.3.1]

As part of the IP-enabled services rulemaking proceeding initiated in March 20041 to determine whether and how these services should be regulated, the FCC adopted VoIP enhanced 911 (“E911”) rules in May 2005 requiring VoIP providers that interconnect with the public switched network (“PSTN”) to:

  • deliver all 911 calls to the local emergency operator of the customer;
  • provide the emergency operators the call-back number and location information of their customers if the emergency operator is capable of receiving such information; and
  • inform their customers of their E911 capabilities and limitations of their service.

The FCC also required that incumbent local exchange carriers provide access to their E911 networks to any carrier that requests it, and that they continue to provide access to trunks, selective routers, and E911 databases to competing carriers.

These obligations were not imposed on IP-enabled service providers whose customers cannot receive calls from or place calls to the PSTN (e.g., providers of instant messaging or Internet gaming services).

1 FCC, Report and Order, ET Docket No. 04-37, October 28, 2004.

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