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Federal Communications Commission News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th St., S.W. Internet:
Washington, D.C. 20554 TTY: 1-888-835-5322
Released: August 26, 2005
Enforcement Bureau Provides Further Guidance to Interconnected Voice Over
Internet Protocol Service Providers Concerning Enforcement of
Subscriber Acknowledgement Requirement
WC Docket No. 04-36
WC Docket No. 05-196
In this Public Notice, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) provides further guidance to providers of
interconnected voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service concerning enforcement of the subscriber
affirmative acknowledgement requirement set forth in the Commission's VoIP Enhanced 911 (E911)
rules.1 Specifically, the Bureau announces that it will continue to refrain, for an additional 30 days --
until September 28, 2005 -- from enforcing the requirement that VoIP providers obtain affirmative
acknowledgements from 100% of their subscribers that they have read and understood an advisory
concerning the limitations of their E911 service against those providers that meet the reporting
requirements established below.
In addition to satisfying these reporting requirements, to be eligible for this extension, providers
also must have filed a report on or before August 10, 2005 in accordance with the Bureau's July 26, 2005
Public Notice. The Bureau will evaluate the sufficiency of the updated reports filed by interconnected
VoIP providers and take subsequent action as necessary.
Background. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order on June 3,
2005,2 requiring interconnected VoIP service providers3 to provide E911 capabilities to their subscribers
1 IP-Enabled Services and E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, First Report and Order and Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking, 2005 WL 1323217, FCC, (rel. Jun 3, 2005) at ¶¶ 48, 73 (VoIP E911 Order); see also 47
2 VoIP E911 Order.
3 "Interconnected VoIP service" means an interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that: (1)
enables real-time, two-way voice communications; (2) requires a broadband connection from the user's location; (3)
requires Internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment; and (4) permits users generally to receive calls
that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone
no later than 120 days from the effective date of the Order.4 Additionally, as set forth in the VoIP E911
Order, all providers of interconnected VoIP service were required by July 29, 2005 to:
· Specifically advise every new and existing subscriber, prominently and in plain language, of
the circumstances under which E911 service may not be available through the interconnected
VoIP service or may be in some way limited by comparison to traditional E911 service
("advisory requirement"); and
· Obtain and keep a record of affirmative acknowledgement by every subscriber, both new and
existing, of having received and understood the advisory described in the paragraph above
("affirmative acknowledgement requirement"); and
· Distribute to its existing subscribers warning stickers or other appropriate labels warning
subscribers if E911 service may be limited or not available and instructing the subscriber to
place them on or near the equipment used in conjunction with the interconnected VoIP
service. Each interconnected VoIP provider should distribute such warning stickers or other
appropriate labels to each new subscriber prior to the initiation of that subscriber's service
On July 26, 2005, the Bureau released a Public Notice stating that it would delay, until August
30, 2005, any enforcement action against any provider of interconnected VoIP service regarding the
affirmative acknowledgement requirement if the provider filed a report by August 10, 2005, detailing its
progress toward satisfying the customer advisory, affirmative acknowledgement, and sticker
requirements. The Bureau further stated its expectation that interconnected VoIP providers would
disconnect, by August 30, 2005, all subscribers from whom it had not received affirmative
acknowledgements. The 30-day extension has allowed interconnected VoIP providers to continue to
obtain affirmative acknowledgements from subscribers and minimize the number subject to potential
The Bureau has reviewed numerous reports filed by VoIP providers on August 10. The reports
demonstrate the significant efforts made by providers in complying with the 100% affirmative
acknowledgement requirement. As a result of its review of these reports, the Bureau has determined that
it will not initiate enforcement action, until September 28, 2005, regarding the affirmative
acknowledgement requirement against those providers that: (1) previously filed reports on or before
August 10, 2005 in accordance with the July 26 Public Notice; and (2) file two separate updated reports
with the FCC by September 1, 2005 and September 22, 2005, containing the information described
below. During this additional period of time, the Bureau expects that all interconnected VoIP providers
that qualify for this extension will continue to use all means available to them to obtain affirmative
acknowledgements from all of their subscribers. Qualifying providers will also have additional time to
consider "soft" or "warm" disconnect or suspension methods, as described below.
Subscriber Notification and Acknowledgement Status and Compliance Reports
In the September 1, 2005 and September 22, 2005 reports, each provider must submit the
following information updating its August 10, 2005 report:
4 The effective date of the Order is July 29, 2005 (30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register). 70
Fed. Reg. 37,273 (June 29, 2005).
5 VoIP E911 Order at ¶¶ 48, 73; see also 47 C.F.R. § 9.5.
· A detailed explanation regarding current compliance with the notice and warning sticker
requirements if the provider did not notify and issue warning stickers or labels to 100% of
its subscribers by the July 29, 2005 deadline. Providers expected to update this
information include those that were in the process of providing notice and/or stickers to
their subscribers, but had not completed the process by July 29, 2005.
· A quantification of the percentage of the provider's subscribers that have submitted
affirmative acknowledgements as of the date of the September 1 and September 22
reports, and an estimation of the percentage of subscribers from whom the provider does
not expect to receive an acknowledgement by September 28, 2005;
· A detailed description of any and all actions the provider plans to take towards any of its
subscribers that do not affirmatively acknowledge having received and understood the
· A detailed description of any and all plans to use a "soft" or "warm" disconnect (or
similar) procedure for subscribers that fail to provide an affirmative acknowledgement by
September 28, 2005. The Bureau notes that in their August 10, 2005 reports some
providers, such as Teliphone, Inc. and Broadview Networks, Inc., state that they will use
a "soft" disconnect procedure to disconnect those subscribers that ultimately do not
acknowledge having received and understood the customer advisory. As the Bureau
understands it, the soft disconnect procedure will either disallow all non-911 calls or
intercept and send those calls to the provider's customer service department. Under this
"soft" disconnect procedure, however, calls to 911 will continue to go to the appropriate
Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). A provider's September 1 and September 22
reports must include either a statement that the provider will use a "soft" or "warm"
disconnect (or similar) solution as of September 28, 2005, or a detailed explanation of
why it is not feasible for the provider to use a "soft" or "warm" disconnect solution, as
Interconnected VoIP providers may file the above-referenced reports in this proceeding on or
before September 1, 2005 and September 22, 2005. All reports must reference WC Docket No. 05-196
and should be labeled clearly on the first page as "Subscriber Acknowledgement Report (date)." The
report may be filed using: (1) the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), or (2) by
filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 Fed. Reg. 24,121
(May 1, 1998).
· Electronic Filers: Compliance letters may be filed electronically using the Internet by
accessing the ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Filers should follow the instructions
provided on the website for submitting comments. For ECFS filers, in completing the
transmittal screen, filers should include their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing
address, and the applicable docket number (WC Docket No. 05-196).
· Paper Filers: Parties that choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies of
each filing. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight
courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail (although we continue to
experience delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to
the Commission's Secretary, Marlene H. Dortch, Office of the Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
· The Commission's contractor will receive hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper
filings for the Commission's Secretary at 236 Massachusetts Avenue, NE., Suite 110,
Washington, DC 20002. The filing hours at this location are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All
hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must
be disposed of before entering the building.
· Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
· U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail should be addressed to 445
12th Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
Parties should also send a copy of their filings to:
· Byron McCoy, Telecommunications Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal
Communications Commission, Room 4-A234, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C.
20554, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Kathy Berthot, Deputy Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau,
Federal Communications Commission, Room 7-C802, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington,
D.C. 20554, or by email to email@example.com; and
· Janice Myles, Competition Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal
Communications Commission, Room 5-C140, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C.
20554, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parties must also serve one copy with the Commission's copy contractor, Best Copy and Printing,
Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, D.C. 20554, (202) 488-5300,
or via e-mail to email@example.com.
For further information regarding this proceeding, contact David Hunt, Telecommunications
Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau, (202) 418-1522, or Cynthia Bryant, Telecommunications
Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau, (202) 418-8164.