Smaller VoIP companies headed for a fine mess

In light of last week's FCC mandatory E911 edict, kudos to fellow VoIP blogger Tom Keating for his scoop about how much the FCC may choose to fine incumbent cable or phone companies if they block E911 access, or even refuse to enable it on their own networks.Something in those numbers is very troubling.

In light of last week's FCC mandatory E911 edict, kudos to fellow VoIP blogger Tom Keating for his scoop about how much the FCC may choose to fine incumbent cable or phone companies if they block E911 access, or even refuse to enable it on their own networks.

Something in those numbers is very troubling. That would be the fine that smaller, less-capitalized pure-play VoIP providers might have to pay for noncompliance, or even delay.

Here's the list for "continuing violations:"

Common carriers can be fined $130,000 per violation or per day, up to $1.325 million.

Cable operators can be fined $32,500 per violation or per day, up to $325,000.

All others, including pure-play VoIP providers, could be fined $11,000 per violation or per day up to $97,500.

That last fine schedule could, if strictly enforced, signify ruin for smaller VoIP companies who are digging for cash to make the 120-day E911 deadline, but run into snags on the way there. What if they get caught between a rock and a hard pace - tech glitches, slow response from telco and cable incumbents up to their ears enabling E911 for the bigger companies, and then the looming deadline? Is there going to be some slack?

Do you agree with me that some VoIP providers will land on the shoals if the FCC imposes these fines without any hardship considerations? TalkBack to us.