New FCC Regulations Force VoIP Service Providers And Users To Do A Major Upgrade

Two of the most recent rules implemented and enforced by the Federal Communications Commissions could potentially change the way businesses and organizations operate their Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services, and it might cost you some money.

Efforts made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight automatic messages, robocalls, Caller ID spoofing, and accessing 911 requires various changes to your VoIP system — including the software upgrades and reconfiguration of your VoIP system. 

If you are handling a multi-line telephone system, whether it is using a PBX system or a Cloud-hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) system, changes will soon happen. The US Federal Government will soon require multi-line companies to make the necessary changes.

Changes in the VoIP features you are currently using might end up different from the way you’ve been using them in the past. These flurry of changes that happened in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) activity this month will affect everything from how you call 911 to how your caller ID works.

The required changes include the capability for mobile phone users to call 911 without having to input an access code to reach an outside line. The updates also allow the caller to provide “dispatchable location” with the information that’s provided with a 911 call.

The dispatchable location includes the physical address of the location where the call came from and the specific internal location, such as the hotel room number, floor number, or even the suite number. Most of the phone methods will require the user to dial a number to reach an outside line so that they can call 911. 

The new features would allow phone users to simply dial and call 911 without the preliminary requirement of dialing a specific number (frequently “9”) to access and make a 911 call. This legislation also requires that extensions that do not have access to outside lines can also call 911.

This feature will also require you to have a physical location on file for every extension on your phone system. This location information should be complete, containing the physical street address as well as the location inside the building or elsewhere on the grounds where the call originated from. 

Chances are, you may already have this information beforehand, but you will need to check. These changes will require updates from your PBX or VoIP provider.

Also adding to the change, there will be another update that affects your business phone system that’s a little less noticeable, and that’s the anti-spoofing efforts by the FCC. The FCC is demanding the caller ID number be real; this means that this will show the company’s phone number and name that are verifiable.

Substitute caller ID is a big deal for some industries — more or less the VoIP vendors — since it is one way to ascertain their products. Nonetheless, many VoIP service providers have since been vocal about their support in ending the fraudulent practice of call spoofing and caller ID dishonesty among businesses. These companies, like Nextiva, provides a well-detailed portfolio of communications services, which means they’re aware and is already preparing for these new set of rules.

Because of these new rules, plans should be made by affected stakeholders. The IT staff of companies have already gathered information on what to do when the innovation launches. Collecting information such as the “dispatchable location” for the 911 call is also a requirement for this new improvement.

Your best option is the company’s professional services arm, as these adjustments will most likely to be involved. Relying only on the knowledge that you already have or even relying on self-help support options or websites may not be enough.

The positive side of all this work is that your customer will have a greater assurance and confidence that the calls they receive from your company are authentic, and your employees and customers will be safer if ever they need to call 911 for an emergency on your property. 

With this new features, there will be a much faster response time when it comes to 911 calls; dispatch units will have an easier time in locating the caller and will be able to reach the location in a timely manner.

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