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CRTC demands 911 on VoIP

Yesterday the CRTC made its rulling on Canadian VoIP services.  You can read about it here — CRTC demands VoIP providers offer 911.  Don Smith asked me to comment on whether I thought it was reasonable.  I think it’s inevitable, and very reasonable,  but the CRTC’s requirements don’t go far enough, and are uneccessarily complex. 

In particular, the CRTC’s distinction between local fixed VoIP, nomadic VoIP, and foreign exchange VoIP is erroneous thinking.  They clearly only understand VoIP at a superficial level. The architecture of VoIP means that access and the voice service called local/long distance telephony are two separate entities.  The only entity that really knows where you are physically located is the access provider, whether that be DSL, wireless, or cable.  However, it is the voice service provider who traps the digits and connects calls, not the access provider. The access provider, therefore, must be responsible for providing location information to the voice service provider.  ie. if I buy my service from Vonage, and use Sympatico for access, then Sympatico must be required to provide my location to Vonage, should I dial 911.

That’s what the CRTC should have asked for, rather than marketing labels and warnings. 

Aswath Rao gets it too.  Pulver says that it’s obvious that the CRTC is expecting cookie-cutter behaviour from the VoIP industry as they clone the telco model at a lower price.

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