As VoIP grows more popular among consumers, so do the chances that operators will go out of business, whether due to competition, business model inadequacies or lack of funding. The FCC now has decided struggling interconnected VoIP providers aren’t allowed to shut down without “reasonable notice.”
The May 13 order comes nearly two years after SunRocket closed its doors without first telling customers, the government or investors. When that happened, SunRocket left thousands users stranded without access to emergency calling.
Problem is, the FCC didn’t say how much time constitutes “reasonable notice.” Commissioners simply said providers must notify customers before service is shut off, reduced or impaired, just as conventional telecom companies have to do.
There also was no immediate clarity on what would happen if another interconnected VoIP provider pulls a SunRocket. Sure, the FCC could try to fine the principals, but if they have no money and/or leave the country, what recourse is there?