Brief Note for VoIP Providers – CRTC Requirements

Many businesses are taking advantage of the competitive pricing available when using virtual or hosted PBX voice-over IP (VoIP) telephone systems. Rather than buying a super-expensive and bulky PBX system to store in-house, businesses can outsource their telephone requirements and obtain robust and advanced telephone systems at monthly fees per line or extension. On the flipside, many existing telecom companies and opportunistic entrepreneurs are looking to enter the VoIP market place.

To do so, the CRTC requires the following:

    • All local VoIP service providers must provide either Basic or Enhanced 9-1-1 services. Essentially, Enhanced 9-1-1 will allow operators to accurately determine the location of the caller.
    • Providers must let their subscribers know (typically in a Terms of Service) what the limitations of the 9-1-1 service they provide are. For example, the Terms may let subscribers know that the phone system (and therefore, the 9-1-1 service) is only available when the Internet is working. Some businesses or homes may choose to keep one extra land line available for emergency purposes.
    • All local VoIP providers must register with the CRTC as a reseller if they do not own or operate their own transmission facilities, or as a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier if they do not own and control these transmission facilities. The CRTC will register the provider on all appropriate lists (e.g. there is a list for a reseller of telecommunications, another for resellers of Internet, etc.).

Finally, if the provider will provide international service, they may be required to obtain a Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) License.