If you have internet-based telephone service, sometimes referred to as "VoIP," you should know about new Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") rules which may affect your service.

Most people know to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. However, dialing 911 does not always work from VoIP phones. In June 2005, the FCC required all VoIP providers to notify their customers that they may not be able to reach emergency services by dialing 911. You must contact your VoIP provider to acknowledge receipt of this notice by October 31, 2005. The FCC requires that VoIP providers disconnect the service of any customer who does not respond to the notice by the deadline.

Q: I have VoIP. Can I dial 911 in the event of an emergency?

A: Maybe not. Some VoIP providers are able to deliver 911 calls, some VoIP providers are not. If you have any questions about your ability to dial 911 from your VoIP phone, please contact your VoIP provider.

Q: How do the FCC's new requirements affect me?

A: If you have VoIP, you should have already received a notice from your VoIP provider informing you that you might not be able to reach emergency services by dialing 911. If you fail to contact your VoIP provider to acknowledge receipt of this notice, your VoIP provider is required by federal law to disconnect your VoIP service.

Q: How can I prevent my service from being disconnected?

A: To prevent your service from being disconnected, you must acknowledge receipt of the notice sent by your VoIP provider by October 31, 2005. If you have any questions about the notice, or if you have not received a notice, please contact your VoIP provider.

Q: Who can I call if I have additional questions?

A: If you have any questions, please contact your VoIP provider, or the FCC (1-888-CALL-FCC).

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