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 Monday, January 23, 2006

OECD: VoIP - Developments in the Market: From the main points of the study:

The growing importance of VoIP services is reflected in the regulatory debate at both the national and international level among OECD countries. There are a range of issues that need to be addressed surrounding the issue of whether traditional regulations should or should not apply to VoIP services. They include classification of the application/service, interconnection, possible market entry barriers, numbering, universal service issues, customer protection, privacy protection, emergency call capabilities, law enforcement issues, and technical safeguards (e.g. solutions for possible low quality of sound). These issues are complicated by the fact that IP can be utilised in all or some parts of traditional and nontraditional communication networks. Delivering a voice service or application can be provided entirely over IP or partly over IP and partly over non-IP. Depending on how it is defined, the term “VoIP” can seep into the term any voice service which runs over IP at any point of their transmission. This might include services that differ in no respect from traditional circuit-switched analogue voice services provided to customers today other than at some point in the middle of the transmission of the service it traverses an IP-based part of the network. Currently, VoIP is, to a large extent, unregulated in a number of OECD countries, but there are several countries which impose regulations similar to PSTN regulations on VoIP. Some countries distinguish between the types of VoIP services in regulations; for example, VoIP services based on PC-to-PC calls are unregulated, whereas calls from a VoIP phone to the PSTN will be regulated. In the last year, a number of governments have started consultation processes on VoIP regulation.