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Firms Struggle To Meet FCC VoIP Mandate

With the FCC’s order mandating Enhanced 911 (E-911) compliance for VoIP providers looming, many firms won’t be able to comply completely with the order by the Nov. 28 deadline, according to several participants at an Internet telephony industry conference recently in Boston.

At one session in which the issue was discussed, a consensus developed that all VoIP providers won’t be able to comply.

The chief stumbling block centers on “nomadic VoIP,” a reference to the movement of Internet telephoning between different locations.

At the same time, Vonage, the largest provider of paid VoIP in the U.S., said it had reached an agreement with Level 3 Communications to provide the E-911 nomadic service. In addition to the deal with Vonage, Level 3 has announced agreements to supply its Level 3 E-911 Direct service to Earthlink.

Charles J. Meyers, Level 3 Group vice president of marketing, said in an interview that Level 3 had anticipated the problem two years ago and began working to have E-911 service available. The firm currently covers 67 percent of the nation with the service and expects to reach the 70 percent mark soon.

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