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Ofcom Proposes New Regulations for VoIP Emergency Access


28/07/2007

VoIP providers in the United Kingdom could soon be required to offer 999 emergency functionality, under a new set of rules proposed by Ofcom this week.

Ofcom states that all VoIP home phone providers, and online voice networks which allow customers to call landline telephones, should be required to offer full access access to emergency services. This recommendation comes on the heels of startling research, which suggests that 78% of VoIP users who could not dial 999 either believed that they could or were unsure.

Regulators insist that this lack of understanding could delay or prevent users from contacting emergency services when assistance is required.

If they had to then locate an ordinary landline or mobile phone, users might face a delay of seconds or minutes in getting through to emergency services, which could prove critical, Ofcom noted.

Most major VoIP providers in the UK including BT and Vonage already provide emergency access to their users, but Ofcom estimates that 36% of Britain’s 2.4 million VoIP users do not yet have adequate access.

Ofcom’s proposed regulations are expected to take effect by early 2008.



 

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