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Helping To Shape Public Policy Through Media Coverage

From now until April 27, you have the chance to let your voice be heard by Telecommunications Policy Makers in Washington, D.C.

We are working with our client, Jeff Pulver and Tom Evslin,
who are reaching out to public citizens in areas most hit by last year’s
hurricane season and encouraging them to go online at the Federal
Communications Commission’s (FCC) Website to submit their comments in
regards to a petition that was submitted by Pulver and Evslin on March
13.

Pulver , who was successful two years ago in the FCC’s adoption of the “Pulver
Order,” which designated computer-to-computer Internet communications
services as “Information Services” not subject to telecom regulation.

Evslin conceived, launched, and ran AT&T’s first ISP, AT&T
WorldNet Service. WorldNet popularized all-you-can-eat flat-rate
monthly pricing for Internet access and forced the rest of the
industry, including AOL and MSN, to follow suit. 

The petition may be viewed here

“The petition was developed as the result of the breakdown in
communications networks caused by Hurricane Katrina,” stated Jeff
Pulver,    “In the wake of Hurricane Katrina , many people were
evacuated and separated from family, friends and loved ones, and had no
telephone contact with their friends or loved ones simply because they
did not own cell phones or call forwarding or voice mail services.”

Thousands of Online Voices Could Ring True at the FCC (and at AT&T)

While there is no minimum number of comments needed in order to
enact the petition, Pulver and Evslin are seeking thousands of
supporters, mostly from the Gulf States region of the U.S., to comment
on the Pulver / Evslin petition to the FCC.  “All we are asking these
citizens to do is to post a comment in favor of our petition that all
phone companies who are currently required to provide E911 service also
be required to make voicemail or call-forwarding available to ALL their
customers any time those customers’ phones are inoperable or unusable
(as in an evacuation) for more than twelve hours,” added Pulver.  “It
simply requires these companies to certify that they have told their
customers how to activate emergency voicemail and call forwarding and
give them PINs or some other reasonably secure method for emergency
activation.”

The petition also requests that any carrier that is found not to
have complied in an emergency be required to immediately port
customer’s phone numbers to any service provider designated by the
customer.  During Katrina, a number of companies offered to provide
free voicemail to evacuees for the duration of the emergency, but there
was no mechanism for quickly porting the subscribers’ numbers,
especially out of territory.

Log On and Submission Information:

In order to submit your comment, log on to the following URL:

http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/upload_v2.cgi
and make sure you enter the “proceeding identification number:” RM-11327  in the first line.

Almost every phone company has a voicemail product and call
forwarding capability.  There is no reason these companies should not
make these services available immediately to refugees without other
modes of communication.

Evslin contends that no new technology is required to make this
work.  The expense should not be significant either, although carriers
have yet to weigh in on this and will have an opportunity to point out
what the costs may be.

Worth Commenting On…

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