Internet Phone Carriers Still Seeking 911 Replies

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of the top U.S. Internet phone providers told U.S. regulators this week they are still trying to obtain acknowledgments from customers that they know the limitations of dialing 911 with their service.

Some customers of Internet phone service, known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), have had trouble getting help when dialing the emergency number 911, which prompted the Federal Communications Commission to order changes.

Unlike traditional phone service, not all Internet phones provide 911 dispatchers with the location of callers, and some calls have been routed to administrative lines that are not always monitored.

The FCC in May ordered companies to fix those issues by late November and, in the interim, to get acknowledgments from all customers that they understand those service limitations. Analysts estimate there are more than 2 million VOIP customers.

Vonage Holdings Corp., the biggest U.S. Internet phone provider, said it has received acknowledgments from more than 90 percent of its customers but was unable to predict whether it would achieve the 100 percent goal by an August 29 deadline.

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Monty Solomon
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