Friday, February 13, 2004

The VoIP debate on interconnecting

A recent C Net Article reports on the FCC judgement that "pure VoIP" is no different from email or any other IP based application and thus should not be subject to federal regulation regarding telephone services.

However the FCC has left open the question of what happens when VoIP services interface with the PSTN (public switched telephone network). Perhaps then they should be regulated?

This issue is a red herring. Anyone who connects a VoIP service to the PSTN pays an interconnect charge -- in California at least $10 a month for a single phone line or a lot more for a T1 PRI bringing 23 lines in on one circuit. So the regulation is available at the interchange point... how do you make the argument that the regulation should then extend to other parts of the VoIP network if a "pure VoIP" network has no such regulation?

And how do you keep the "pure VoIP" networks from interconnecting to the blended networks?

This is a meager attempt by the phone companies to at least create some FUD for operators like Vonage while they line up legal arguments and lobbying dollars to slow down VoIP, which, left unchecked, will destroy their current business models.

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