Saturday, May 06, 2006

 

How to regulate VoIP

For more than 3 years, in our discussions around the world, the first question that used to be raised was 'can you regulate VoIP'? After all, internet technology was considered to be beyond the power of regulators.

After we assured people that there were ways to detect and impose regulation on VoIP, our question back was 'why would you want to regulate VoIP'? Even when offered by an incumbent, what characteristics are there to justify regulating Voice over IP?

More than a year ago, we offered a solution to the regulatory challenge of how to deal with VoIP. That paper is just as relevant today as it was last year. In the report, we suggest that dial tone service is an application that can be dissociated from the access facilities.

The paper suggests that the key factor for the regulator to examine is whether the access service is competitive or a bottleneck, regulated service. Economic (price) regulation is only required if the customer delivered service combines a regulated access service with the voice application. Using this standard, wireless services and VoIP would be forborne while traditional voice services would attract price regulation until access facilities are found to be competitive.

We wrote the paper as a solution for the CRTC to consider last year. Given the Cabinet direction to revisit the CRTC's original VoIP Decision, we think our paper is worth looking at again.

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