Feeds

VoIP services must offer 999, says Ofcom

Calls for regulatory framework

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.