Ofcom has published proposals to require certain types of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers to allow users to call 999 by early 2008.

This follows research revealing that as many as 78% of VoIP users who cannot use their service to call 999 thought they could, or did not know whether they could.

Ofcom proposes that any VoIP service allowing users to make calls to ordinary phone numbers must also offer access to 999.

Ofcom wants to ensure that users of mainstream VoIP services do not suffer as a result of trying to dial 999 using a service that does not offer them access.

Some VoIP providers – for example, BT and Vonage - already allow users access to 999.

For other VoIP providers, Ofcom estimates the cost of allowing their users to call 999 is likely to be around ninety pence per household per year.

In March 2007, Ofcom put in place a code of practice that requires all VoIP providers to make it clear to consumers whether or not their service includes access to emergency services.

More info on the proposal via the link below.