Canada, VoIP and 911
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission -- say that while you have a mouthful of shredded wheat -- ruled Monday that VoIP accounts that are essentially tied to one location must have basic or enhanced 911 service within 90 days (nomadic and foreign-exchange VoIP services can have a more limited solution in place). Jeff Pulver doesn't like it, and is quoted as saying that this is an unfair and unwise imposition of legacy regulations on a new industry:
"Left on its own, the CRTC is creating roadblocks that will discourage continued voice over broadband deployments in Canada and encourage would-be innovators to do business in other countries. ..."
Maybe, but: First, note that the most stringent requirement applies to those accounts -- where VoIP is standing in for a fixed landline phone -- where consumers will have the highest expectation of a working version of 911. While it's true that the industry is young, no one can say they haven't seen the day this would come; it's ludicrous to think you can provide residential phone service without also providing reliable access to emergency services.
Second, the industry itself seems to think it can meet the requirements without much of a sweat. In fact, the decision appears to do something that the Canadian VoIP providers have wanted for awhile -- requiring the local telecom incumbents to cooperate in with VoIPs' 911 needs and giving the VoIPs access to the emergency-service public-access points.