Wholesale IP provider CommPartners is suspending the sale and provisioning of residential services until it can comply fully with the FCCs E911 mandate, probably around the end of August.
The provider said it knows the decision has a very disruptive effect for partners who focus on the residential market.
CommPartners has seen delays in the availability of compliant coverage via underlying 911 solutions providers, and a lack of reliable and useful information on 911 coverage forecasts, which have put residential VoIP initiatives in limbo, said Dave Clark, co-founder and CEO of CommPartners, in a news release. Unfortunately, we do not currently see a clear path of relief in the short term that will enable us to reactivate provisioning wizards and resume the wide-scale sales of residential services with 911-compliant coverage.
The wholesaler will continue focusing on the SMB and enterprise markets. It has required those users to sign affidavits confirming the presence of a POTS line at their locations, for emergency calling. For companies outside of CommPartners 911 coverage areas, the provider includes an Enterprise 911 Kit that routes emergency calls over the POTS line. CommPartners determined this method, however, was not practical for residential customers.
“CommPartners has also always considered 911 essential to the delivery of wholesale VoIP services for the safety and overall benefit of our wholesale partners and end-user customers, and [has] been actively engaged in deploying the best solutions available to our customers while complying fully with federal regulations,” Clark said.
Off-shore residential users and softphone users will not be affected by CommPartners suspension because neither demographic is covered by the FCC mandate.
CommPartners said it is optimistic that more widespread, FCC-compliant E911 coverage will be available by the second half of the year.
Last year, the FCC required VoIP operators to provide E911, but its enforcement of the mandate has been pushed out as companies requested more time to comply with an order widely viewed as very difficult to meet.