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Court Refuses to Stay FCC VoIP Order

The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia today refused to stay the FCCs VoIP E911 order, leaving open the opportunity for the order to go into effect on Nov. 28, the deadline set by the FCC for VoIP providers to offer E911 service.


The court did not make any ruling on the substantive issues of Nuvio Corp.s appeal of the FCC order, only refusing to grant an emergency stay.


The court stated, respondents have assured the court they will not require voice over Internet protocol providers that have not achieved full compliance with the challenged order by November 28, 2005, to discontinue service to current customers. … In light of this representation and given the lack of substantiation for petitioners contention that they will suffer irreparable harm in the event they are prohibited from accepting new customers in certain areas after November 28, 2005, petitioners have not demonstrated the irreparable injury requisite for the issuance of a stay pending review.


A week before the court decision the FCC issued a notice withdrawing its requirement that VoIP providers cut off service to customers, but added a requirement that they not market their services in areas where they do not offer E911.


Jason Talley, CEO of Nuvio stated, “While I’m greatly disappointed in today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, I am heartened by the fact that the court’s decision did not address the substantive issues in this case. We will still proceed with our appeal and still believe that the FCC’s E911 Order for VoIP Service Providers is arbitrary and capricious.”


Talley adds, Although the FCC decided not to force Nuvio to disconnect its customers, that does not ameliorate the impact of the forced withdrawal of our VoIP service from the marketplace. The fact of the matter is this: the FCC’s E911 requirements will translate into less choice for consumers and less technological innovation for our country.”


If the FCC order eventually is overturned, Talley says, any fines that FCC undertakes be cancelled, which is why it is extremely important that anyone impacted by the Nov. 28 deadline get involved with us.


Also the Joint FCC/NARUC Task Force on VoIP 911 Enforcement has launched a Web site, www.voip911.gov, to provide consumers, industry and state and local governments information about the rules that require certain providers of VoIP services to supply 911 emergency calling capabilities to their customers.


The groups statement said, Recent incidents in which consumers using VoIP service dialed 911 but were unable to reach emergency operators have highlighted a critical public safety gap. The FCC has taken steps to close this gap by requiring that, effective November 28, 2005, interconnected VoIP providers deliver all 911 calls to the customers local emergency operator. Interconnected VoIP providers must also provide the customers call back number and location information to the emergency operator if the emergency operator is capable of receiving this information.



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