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FCC May Require VoIP 911 By September

The Federal Communications Commission may vote as early as this month to require Voice over IP service providers to deliver 911 services, according to published reports.

A story today by the Reuters news agency quotes unnamed sources "familiar with the plan" who said that the FCC may move to make 911 services for VoIP mandatory before the end of September. The FCC's next scheduled open meeting, when such an issue could be voted on, is May 19.

According to Reuters, FCC chairman Kevin Martin is leading the proposal to make 911 mandatory for VoIP providers, echoing his opinion on the subject that was delivered in recent testimony before Congress. The issue is forefront in the VoIP market, due to several cases of states suing VoIP provider Vonage Holdings for allegedly misrepresenting the availability of 911 services over its VoIP offering.

Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron was scheduled to meet with the FCC's Martin this week, according to Brooke Schulz, vice president for corporate communications at Vonage. Vonage did not respond to queries for further information on the meeting.

As the leading provider of VoIP services, Vonage seems to be drawing most of the heat surrounding 911 over VoIP. The issue reached its first public boiling point when the state of Texas sued Vonage, claiming the company's advertising policies were misleading.

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