, one of the nation's leading Internet phone service providers, announced that it has equipped 96% of its customers with E-911 services, in advance of the original November 28th deadline ordered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last May. "E-911", short for "Enhanced 911", is a technology that allows emergency services to pinpoint the physical location and identify the call-back number of the 911-caller.
"We did not wait for the government to require us to give our customers E-911," said Paul Erickson, chairman and co-founder of SunRocket. "We recognize that safety matters most and that consumers expect to get emergency assistance when they dial 911 from any telephone. SunRocket built E-911 support into our business plan from the beginning."
Much attention has been focused on the FCC ruling last May, which required that all providers of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provide Enhanced 911 to their subscribers and disconnect service for those not provisioned with it. Facing the November 28th deadline, the FCC recently revised its position so that non-compliant VoIP providers would not have to disconnect existing customers, though the agency still expects VoIP providers to cease marketing efforts in areas where customers cannot receive E-911.
"We simply decided that SunRocket would not sell Internet phone service where we could not provide access to E-911," continued Erickson. "Consumers deserve E-911 support, and we feel it is important that we deliver that capability, regardless of whether or not we are required to do so."
Since last spring, SunRocket has restricted new subscriber enrollment to only those areas where SunRocket can offer E-911 service, so that all new subscribers are equipped with E-911 support. As SunRocket expands its geographic coverage footprint, those customers lacking full E-911 support are upgraded. By year-end 2005, SunRocket expects that nearly 99 percent of its subscribers will be equipped with E-911.