World VoIP NewsOfficial warnings to VoIP provider Vantage for inability to ensure emergency 911 calling
Official warnings to VoIP provider Vantage for inability to ensure emergency 911 calling
US official regulatory body FCC (Federal Communication Commission) has issued official warnings to company Vantage Communications due to its reported inability to provide E911 services to at least three customers. Due to reason, that FCC hasn't classified interconnected VoIP as a telecom or non-telecom, it cannot implement any legal enforcement issues, by resorting to issuing warning shots prior to imposing fines. Afterwards, the FCC could fine Vantage Communications up to $16,000 per violation.
The issue itself appears from Section 503 of the US Federal Communications Act. Section 503 handles to FCC authority to impose fines for violations of the Act or its rules. If the subject of a violating or this forfeiture proceeding is not a license or permit holder, such as a broadcast station or a carrier, however, Section 503 oblige the FCC to issue a citation for the violation from the beginning, and then allows the FCC to impose fines for a subsequent violation of the kind mentioned in the particular citation. However, the potential penalties can differ as for license holders and non license holders; whereas the FCC can fine licensed carriers up to $150,000 per violation, it may fine non-licensees only $16,000 per violation.
The legal example of Vantage Communications indicates some benefits for interconnected VoIP providers in these controversial situations. Due to refusal of the FCC to define whether interconnected VoIP is telecommunications service, the FCC ‘s Enforcement Bureau has proceeded very cautiously with involved Parties that only provide interconnected VoIP service. Without an FCC classification, the Enforcement Bureau cannot conclude that interconnected VoIP providers are license or permit holders. Consequently, the Bureau has issued Citations to interconnected VoIP providers, before issuing any proposed fines.
When FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has found that Vantage had failed in at least three cases to provide customers with 911 service, they warned company that "any failure to provide fully compliant E911 service to your VoIP customers in the future would cause a further violation of Section 9.5(b) of the Rules that may result in enforcement action, including monetary forfeitures" . In addition, the Bureau warned Vantage that fines could be issued for failure to comply with other obligations of interconnected VoIP providers, such as CALEA, CPNI, USF contributions and others. But, even in future violations, the maximum forfeiture Vantage faces for each violation is $16,000, not the $150,000 that applies to enterprise telecommunications carriers.
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