Will It Take UK’s Ofcom To Make Canadian SkypeIn Numbers Available?

UK’s regulatory agency may finally force Skype into providing 911 services at which point providing Canadian SkypeIn may become trivial.

A major issue for Canadian Skypers is the unavailability of Canadian SkypeIn numbers. We Canadians can have US SkypeIn numbers and UK (or several Eurocountry) SkypeIn numbers but not Canadian SkypeIn numbers. I recently confirmed with a CRTC spokesperson that, in addition to the need for Skype to obtain a business agreement with a Canadian CLEC (Rogers, Bell, Telus, etc.) to provide SkypeIn numbers, they also need to provide e911 services to be in compliance with CRTC regulations. And this would involve contracting with a Canadian 911 service provider as does DID provider Unlimitel. But that is not the entire story; Skype would also have to provide callerID service to be in compliance with e911.

Well, it seems the holiday in the UK is about to come to an end. Andy Abramson at VoIP Watch brings our attention to a new requirement for UK operators of VoIP services to provide access to the ‘999’ emergency services number. Seems like, in spite of all the disclaimers by VoIP service providers, 78% of households believe the could call 999 from their VoIP service. Another case of customers simply wanting a service to be transparent to the underlying communications technology:

Ofcom’s decision to require access to emergency services has been made because of the confusion that consumers face with the ever merging of phone and Internet services. It will be more and more difficult to discern whether a telephone call is routed over VoIP or the traditional PSTN network, especially for someone who doesn’t understand the technology or isn’t aware of the specific setup at a location.

Effectively it appears that Ofcom will force Skype to put together the legal and technical infrastructure for providing emergency services for SkypeIn numbers. So, while Canada became totally independent of the UK politically in 1931 and repatriated its constitution in 1982, it may take a UK regulatory authority to force Skype’s hand on providing SkypeIn number compliant with CRTC e911 emergency services requirements. Rule Britannia and all that! Or, is this a case of the (British) Empire strikes back?

Tags: Skype, SkypeIn, SkypeIn Canada, Ofcom, CRTC, Unlimitel, Rogers, Bell Canada, Telus, Allstream, Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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