Two incumbent telephone companies and two Voice over IP providers are asking the CRTC to delay the implementation of an interim VoIP 911 solution, saying there isn’t enough time to make sure it works before the July 3 deadline.  While MTS Allstream provides few details as to why it is asking for an extension, SaskTel, BananaTel Communications and Vonage Canada Corp. say more time is needed to evaluate the interim solution as proposed by the commission.  The CRTC ruled nearly two months ago that VoIP providers would need to provide 911 functionality equivalent to that provided by the incumbent telephone company in that particular territory (Telecom Decision 2005-21). The commission determined in that ruling that opting for a third-party call centre approach would be the most effective to meet the needs of the industry on an interim basis until a more permanent solution can be developed.  Vonage Canada says, however, that its current 911 service is "superior" to the proposed interim solution, "since it does not involve the additional step of using an intermediary for every single 911 call." The company adds that it will nonetheless comply with the April 2005 ruling.  The best way to provide enhanced 911, says Vonage, is to get access to ILEC location and number databases. "Vonage Canada continues to believe that access to unbundled ILEC facilities required to provide E911 service remains the only viable way to ensure that VoIP providers are in a position to offer a comparable level of service to the wireline carriers they compete against," the company writes in its application.  In an interview with Network Letter at the VON Canada conference in Toronto in April, Vonage Canada president Bill Rainey said the solution for enhanced 911 is not a difficult one for static customers – those who register the address of their VoIP service in their home exchange. "The only thing holding (E911) up is that the committee must move forward and get the ILECs to open up their systems and tandems to 911. When that happens, it’s not a terribly difficult thing to do, every provider will be able to provide E911," he told NL.  Contained in the telco switches are databases that have location identifiers – the location and the number – which are required to provide E911 services, he added. While fixing the native or fixed E911 problem doesn’t appear to be that difficult, making sure emergency calling works in a mobile or non-native environment is. There are currently discussions taking place at the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) with a view to solving this issue.  Ted Woodhead, director of regulatory affairs at Telus Communications Inc., explains that over the next six months there will be a series of meetings specifically on solving the mobile VoIP 911 problem. At the end of the six-month period, the CISC will report back to the commission on a potential solution.  ILECs to slow down VoIP 911 implementation There are, however, concerns that the incumbent telephone companies are able to stall 911 implementation by VoIP providers. BananaTel, a small virtual VoIP IP PBX provider, is worried that section 53 of the decision gives ILECs the ability to do that because a condition of offering service is the provision of 911.  "We are concerned that if we further pursue the matter of 911 interconnect policy for VoIP providers with our CLEC, they may decide to terminate our service under this section of the decision. We have further concerns that other carriers may use this section of the decision to refuse service to VoIP providers," BananaTel writes.  "The ILECs and CLECs have no incentive to provide 911 services to VoIP providers, whom they see as competition. The ILECs and the CLECs are our only possible means of accessing the PSTN directly.  Since these interconnections currently prevent routing of calls to the 911 systems, this hampers our ability to provide 911 service to our customers."