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FCC Allows VoIP Phone Calls from Prisoners
When talking about the many different uses of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, most people are immediately going to be looking at the different offerings that businesses can use VoIP for. What many people are likely to overlook is just how much the technology has permeated other sectors. One area that almost no one would ever think about when it comes to VoIP use is America’s prison system. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) ruled that a VoIP-based service that is gaining popularity in prison could continue to exist.
ConsCallHome has made phone calls to and from prison cheaper for the people who are incarcerated by doing something that most people probably forgot existed. The program does away with long distance calling. Typically, when a prisoner is calling their friends or family, they are calling a long distance number. By using CCH (News - Alert), the convict is able to call a VoIP phone number that is recognized as local. When they call this VoIP phone number, the call is routed to the actual phone number of the person at home.
Securus Technologies, which makes its bones by providing more traditional wire line services, had petitioned the FCC to block these VoIP-based prison calling programs. The company argued the phone calls were going to “terminating telephone numbers” that were unknown. The company had also taken the strict step of blocking CCH phone calls that were initiated over its network.
When the FCC made its recent ruling, it stated in no uncertain terms that it does not agree with Securus. The agency wrote in its ruling that: “The call routing services are not initiated by the calling party, as in the case of ‘operator services,’ but rather are subscribed to by the party being called. The calling party does not have to engage any automatic or live assistance in order to complete the call: indeed, for the calling party, the routed call is completed in a seamless manner.”
The FCC added that it expected Securus to abide by the ruling and stop blocking the service in the prisons it runs phone networks.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson