In a US Federal Communications Commission meeting today, the Commission ruled that internet telephony (i.e. VoIP) providers are subject to the same outage reporting rules as other service providers. 31 percent of residential wireline subscribers have VoIP service, but outages don't have to be reported to the FCC the way they do for landline phones. That means that the FCC doesn't receive information about major outages that customers have reported across multiple states, some lasting for hours and affecting up to a million customers. For people who rely on VoIP to make 911 or other emergency calls, improving the service is vital.
Expanding the scope of this reporting to VoIP will help the FCC identify and respond to large-scale problems in the service, making things like 911 calls far more reliable. The VoIP ruling is also in line with a 2008 Congressional decree that internet telephony providers must adhere to the same 911 standards as other phone services. Contrary to its original proposal, however, the Commission said that it would not be extending the outage reporting to broadband internet, saying that some technical issues still needed to be studied. For the full meeting video, click through to the source link below; the VoIP ruling information starts around 36 minutes in.