What Qwest *really* means when they tell FCC "sure on VoIP 911"

Qwest seems to be coming on board with pre-approval of any edict from the FCC requiring them to grant E-911 system access to VoIP providers.There's at least some well-informed supposition that a ruling to that effect will come out of the FCC's next meeting, scheduled for May 19.

Qwest seems to be coming on board with pre-approval of any edict from the FCC requiring them to grant E-911 system access to VoIP providers.

There's at least some well-informed supposition that a ruling to that effect will come out of the FCC's next meeting, scheduled for May 19. And, that the primary driver for such an edict will come from FCC Chair Kevin Martin, said to be an advocate for giving the big phone companies 120 days to comply.

Remember the word "seems." It's coming up later in this post.

Just today, 14-state territory Qwest - who, as colleague Ben Charny reports has just rolled out its own OneFlex Premier VoIP service - issued a statement saying that:

“We commend Chairman Martin’s recommendation that the FCC establish a deadline for VoIP providers to offer real 911 emergency services to their customers.

"VoIP providers must treat E911 access as an integral part of the service they provide, and a necessary cost of doing business," the statement added. "Anything less is irresponsible."

Note, they used terms like "commend" and "recommendation."

While some commentators are gushing about Qwest's seeming eagerness to comply, I would offer a more measured take.

When I see corporate p.r. speak like "commend" and "recommendation" appended to the Qwest pronouncement, I see what they are really saying:

Sounds like a great idea, but gee, we hope this is not an edict that will force us to comply in 120 days.

In other words, Qwest, and I daresy others, will want an E911 access recommendation instead of an edict, and more than 120 days to make it work.

And they are putting out this statement in a pre-emptive attempt to indicate their willingness to comply, and perhaps soften any time-based E911 VoIP access dictate that might come out of that May 19 meeting.

Plus, the more time Qwest can buy to market its own VoIP services before competing products in Qwest's service area get mandated access to E911, the better.

Mark my words on this one. Perhaps not without some technical justification, the ILECs will say, "look, we are already talking to VoIP providers," so why require us to do something we are already working hard to accomplish?

"And 120 days?"

Do you agree or disagree with my interpretation of Qwest's statements? TalkBack.