Filling The VoIP Holes, Dealing With Telecom/Broadband Policy

from the gotta-match-POTS dept

For all the talk about VoIP, there are still a few areas where it has trouble measuring up to the regular phone system. From the consumer standpoint, call quality is still the biggest issue. If everything is working properly, a VoIP call can easily sound as good, if not better than, a standard phone call. However, the regular phone system tends to have a consistent quality level, while VoIP phone systems will fluctuate wildly, depending on a variety of factors concerning the internet connection they’re traveling over. AT&T claims that, in order to properly launch their CallVantage VoIP offering, they needed to help other broadband providers improve their quality to ensure that the voice quality was at an acceptable level. Meanwhile, from the law enforcement side, they’ve been loudly complaining about putting a law in place to make sure that VoIP providers allow them to tap VoIP phone calls. While some VoIP providers have said they might be able to figure out ways to do so, others have said it will be difficult. Along comes Cox (with the help of VeriSign) to say they’ve successfully set up the ability to tap their VoIP lines. However, it turns out this might not be necessary – since Senator Sununu has introduced legislation exempting VoIP from most telecom regulation – pointing out that it’s more of an information service than a telecom service (the same thing the courts told the FCC they couldn’t do last week). Clearly, telecom/broadband policy is a bit of a mess right now, and it’s unlikely to be cleared up any time soon. Everyone on both sides of the issue claim that the policies the other side are suggesting would absolutely kill the internet.

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