VoIP regulation debate heats up

The regulation of VoIP services at a state and federal level is a much talked about issue in the telecommunication world these days. Many industry insiders have forecasted VoIP as the future of business communication and with the current growth seen in the industry in a number of verticals, its easy to see why, but how these regulation debates play out could have major effects on the market.

In a new article from Business.com, Dave Thomas examines both sides of the VoIP regulation issue. The argument is back in front of industry news following a ruling in California earlier this month that banned further regulations of VoIP. The state joins others including New Hampshire and New York that have also stopped regulation.

Those in favor of regulation argue that it is for consumers. With no regulations, customers have no place to turn to cite malevolent service. Affordability, access and consumer quality are the three main topics that telephone regulation would cover.

The negative aspect of government regulation is all about innovation and availability. More regulation will keep startup companies out of the market and trying to offer something different. Competition is the mother of innovation in the business world and innovation helps drive the economy.

Federal regulations also get coverage. VoIP systems are classified as "information services" by the FCC, meaning they are not subject to telephone regulations. There are, however, a handful of things the FCC has required of the VoIP industry including disability services, 911 enhancements, phone number portability and contributing to the Universal Service Fund, which helps pay for phone services for low-income and rural areas.

Regardless of where the industry lands on the subject, it will take time before the effects of the the current deregulation is felt.

"The trend on both the federal and state levels is toward less regulation of VoIP service rather than more," wrote Thomas. "The effect of deregulation that is spelled out in law will play out over the next several years."

From our offices in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, PRO OnCall is your single-source technology consulting service, offering managed IT support, unified communications solutions and on-call IT support.