Ofcom to force VOIP providers to allow emergency calls

Following today’s announcement by Ofcom to force VoIP providers to enable calls to be made to 999 and 112 numbers, Tim Wolfenden, Head of Communications Services at independent comparison and switching service, uSwitch.com, comments: “Ofcom’s announcement to allow emergency calls to be made thorough VoIP from the 8th September 2008 will come as welcome news to the 500,000 active VoIP users in the UK.

Currently over three quarters of VoIP users do not know whether their provider allows 999 calls to be made – and only 36% are with a provider that does. The new regulation will clear up any confusion amongst users and could well help to boost the number of households already using the service.

“However, it’s disappointing that Ofcom has taken four years to complete this consultation. VoIP is predominately being used as an additional service to a landline and to date the ability to make 999 calls has not been guaranteed. This has been a significant stumbling block and has stunted consumer uptake.

Wolfenden continues: “VoIP burst onto the scene in a big way a year ago offering significantly cheaper phone bills, especially when making international calls. By enabling emergency calls to be made, the number of consumers using VoIP as an independent form of communication will increase dramatically; it’s just a shame that we’ll have to wait until 2008 to get there.”