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Ofcom - VoIP Must Provide Access to 999 & 112
By: MarkJ - 05 December, 2007 (1:41 PM)

Ofcom has ruled that Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services which allow users to make calls to normal national phone numbers must also have the ability to contact 999 and 112. The changes will come in on 8th September 2008 next year:

Ofcom wants to ensure that users of mainstream VoIP services are not put in danger as a result of trying to call 999 or 112 using a service that does not offer them access. If consumers had to then locate an ordinary landline or mobile phone, they might face a delay of seconds or even minutes in getting through to the emergency services, which could prove critical.

The new rules follow research, where Ofcom found that as many as 78% of VoIP users who cannot currently use their service to call 999 or 112 either thought an emergency call was possible, or did not know whether or not this was the case.

The new rules will apply to:-

  • VoIP out providers, which allow users to make calls to normal phone numbers but not receive them.

  • Two-way VoIP providers, which allow users to make and receive calls to and from normal phone numbers.

VoIP providers that only offer calls over the Internet, usually to users with the same product, and providers that only allow users to receive calls from normal phone numbers are unaffected by the new rules.

Services that only allow users to call international numbers and Click to Call services, where users can only call a pre-selected number or limited set of numbers, are also excluded.


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