Feeds

VoIP services must offer 999, says Ofcom

Calls for regulatory framework

Top three mobile application threats

Ofcom today proposed that all VoIP phone services allowing users to make calls to ordinary phone numbers must also offer access to make 999 emergency calls.

In research carried out by the UK communications regulator, VoIP users were found to be very confused by what phone numbers they would be able to access in the event of an emergency.

Ofcom, which has been consulting on its approach to regulating the VoIP industry since February 2006, said 78 per cent of people had no idea they were unable to access 999.

Although some VoIP phone service providers, such as BT and Vonage, already include the option for their users to access the emergency number, other providers opt out of offering it.

It said only 64 per cent of households were currently able to gain access to 999 via VoIP phone services.

Concerns have been expressed by the communications watchdog as people increasingly adopt VoIP to make phone calls they would have traditionally made through landlines.

It said a lack of awareness about some service providers' decision to exclude the 999 number could leave users vulnerable in an emergency.

Ofcom estimated that the cost of VoIP providers allowing users to call 999 would be around 90 pence per household per year.

Of course, the big headache for the regulator is that, unlike other telcom services, VoIP is not bound by national borders.

Ofcom said it is working closely with its European equivalents to put a regulatory framework in place.

Meanwhile, the communications watchdog announced today that it has appointed a new chief operating officer.

Jill Ainscough joins Ofcom to fill the slot left vacant by Ed Richards, who became chief executive in 2006.

She was previously managing director at broadband firm Easynet and takes up the COO post on 7 August. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.