Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of
the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See
MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
Commission Requires Interconnected VoIP Providers to Provide Enhanced
911 Service Order Ensures VoIP Customers Have Access to Emergency
Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission today took
steps to protect consumers by requiring that certain providers of
voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service supply enhanced 911
(E911) emergency calling capabilities to their customers as a
mandatory feature of the service.
The IP-enabled services marketplace is the latest new frontier of our
nation's communications landscape, and the Commission is committed to
allowing IP-enabled services to evolve without undue regulation. But
E911 service is critical to our nation's ability to respond to a
host of crises. The Commission hopes to minimize the likelihood of
situations like recent incidents in which users of interconnected VoIP
dialed 911 but were not able to reach emergency operators.
Today's Order represents a balanced approach that takes into
consideration the expectations of consumers, the need to strengthen
Americans' ability to access public safety in times of crisis, and
the needs of entities offering these innovative services.
The Order places obligations on interconnected VoIP service providers
that are similar to traditional telephone providers in that they
enable customers to receive calls from and terminate calls to the
public switched telephone network (PSTN). It does not place
obligations on other IPbased service providers, such as those that
provide instant messaging or Internet gaming services, because
although these services may contain a voice component, customers of
these services cannot receive calls from and place calls to the
PSTN. The Order adopted today reaches the following conclusions:
Interconnected VoIP providers must deliver all 911 calls to the
customer's local emergency operator. This must be a standard, rather
than optional, feature of the service.
Interconnected VoIP providers must provide emergency operators with
the call back number and location information of their customers
(i.e., E911) where the emergency operator is capable of receiving
it. Although the customer must provide the location information, the
VoIP provider must provide the customer a means of updating this
information, whether he or she is at home or away from home.
By the effective date, interconnected VoIP providers must inform
their customers, both new and existing, of the E911 capabilities and
limitations of their service.
The incumbent LECs are required to provide access to their E911
networks to any requesting telecommunications carrier. They must
continue to provide access to trunks, selective routers, and E911
databases to competing carriers. The Commission will closely monitor
Interconnected VoIP providers must comply with these requirements, and
submit to the Commission a letter detailing such compliance, no later
than 120 days after the effective date of the Order.
Finally, the Commission stated its intention to adopt, in a future
order, an advanced E911 solution that includes a method for
determining the customer's location without the customer having to
self report this information.
Action by the Commission May 19, 2005, by First Report and Order and
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 05-116). Chairman Martin,
Commissioners Abernathy, Copps, and Adelstein, Chairman Martin,
Commissioners Abernathy, Copps, and Adelstein issuing separate
WC Docket Nos. 04-36, 05-196
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Christi Shewman, (202) 418-1686.
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on the Commission's web site http://www.fcc.gov.