Feeds

VoIP services must offer 999, says Ofcom

Calls for regulatory framework

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.