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Alternate Senate bill eases up on Nomadic VoIP

I don't have any quarrel with the good intentions of FCC edicts that E-911 access over nomadic VoIP be required, and quickly at that. This is more of a well-intentioned public spirited mandate (there are such things) than another big-government bureaucratic edict, but still, I have problems with it.

I don't have any quarrel with the good intentions of FCC edicts that E-911 access over nomadic VoIP be required, and quickly at that.

This is more of a well-intentioned public spirited mandate (there are such things) than another big-government bureaucratic edict, but still, I have problems with it.

Nomadic E911 rulings have turned into a circus of hucksterism, exaggerated marketing-driven claims by feverish solutions marketers, "we have a solution that solves nomadic VoIP" press pitches from overeager p.r. types, and naive buy-ins from clueless mainstream media beat reporters.

Too often, E911 nomadic VoIP solutions rest on the ability of the user- presumably the one who would be impacted by an emergency, to let their service provider of record know that they are not currently at their address of record when they are dialing in.

Tell ya what. In a perfect world scenario you have this covered. You let your VoIP provider know about this before you zip up your RollAboard.

But life doesn't always work out that way. Heard of the best-seller, "They Call It a Breakup Because It's Broken?" Well, even though E911 stands for Enhanced VoIP, the "E" is also the first letter of this word called "Emergency." they call it E911 because it is an Emergency- possibly involving you.

Emergencies are the Dark Force random event. Who knows when they are going to happen. Point being that you might not feel inclined to let your VoIP den mother know of your every move.

The solution, of course is embedded GPS tracking and presence in every device capable of receiving or sending VoIP calls. Hey look, my BlackBerry can find four satellites even while indoors. So why can't any and ever device?

Happily, some Senators seem to realize what a - to quote the great Merle Haggard- "rainbow stew" E911 nomadic VoIP is without GPS.

An FCC requirement that Internet telephone companies provide emergency 911 services by November 28 (a month from today) would be overruled by a new draft bill authored by Senate Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

The committee draft revises a bill drafted by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. Nelson's measure would require  VoIP to provide enhanced E911 service. 

The National Journal reports that unlike the Nelson bill, the new Stevens language relieves "nomadic" VoIP providers from the need to comply with a May order by the FCC. The E-911 legislation had originally been scheduled for a vote on Oct. 20; it is now expected to be considered the week of Oct. 31. Both the Nelson and Stevens versions would require the modernization of the public safety 911 system.

Reportedly, Stevens' first  rev of Nelson's bill would have given the VoIP industry two years to enable nomadic E911. That provision is not in the latest bill, however.