With the Federal Communications Commission's deadline for E911 VOIP now a little over two months away, I think we may be seeing the immediate future of this compliance deadline reflected in dealings between the FCC and another group of telecom interests.
The Cellular Communications and Internet Association and the Rural Cellular Association have petitioned the FCC for waivers to a December 31 deadline that 95 percent of the handsets operating on all cell networks be location-capable for E-911 service.
As an alternative solution, the two cell groups request the FCC suspend the 95 percent penetration rule for those carriers able to achieve 100 percent E-911 capability in all new cellphones to be sold over a specific period. The solution was requested, the groups said, because low churn rate (consumers upgrading to new phones) and resistance to newer handsets would make the 95 percent threshold difficult to attain in a comparatively short length of time.
What does this mean for VoIP E-911? Even though we are talking apples and oranges here, my sense is that if the cellular industry E-911 deadline extension request to the FCC is successful, it might signal a flexibility on the part of the FCC.
A flexibility that could not help but embolden VoIP interests to attempt something similar.