TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Emerging VOIP Regulation in Europe and the United States

Emerging VOIP Regulation in Europe and the United States

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 7 Jul 2005 09:04:53 -0400

The challenges of classification: Emerging VOIP regulation in Europe
and the United States

by David Bach and Jonathan Sallet


Internet telephony -- or Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) -- has
the potential to transform the world of voice communications more
profoundly than anything since the invention of the telephone itself.
As telecommunications incumbents and a range of new entrants begin
rolling out commercial VOIP services, policymakers around the world
are grappling with the regulatory implications. In the United States
and the European Union, the two largest near-term VOIP markets,
efforts are underway to fit VOIP into existing regulatory frameworks.
This process of "regulatory classification" is by no means a purely
administrative act. A lot is at stake and different interest groups
have therefore mobilized to shape the respective outcomes. Because
legacy regulatory systems in Europe and the United States differ, the
regulatory treatment of VOIP in the two markets is beginning to differ
as well. Yet in both markets there is a substantial danger that
fitting VOIP into existing classifications will force VOIP to look
more like regular telephony, thereby limiting its innovation



- The rapid rise and inevitable regulation of VOIP
- Classifying VOIP in the U.S.: Circuit-switched policies meet IP
- Classifying VOIP in Europe: The first test for a new framework
- The politics of regulatory classification
- Conclusion

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