Feeds

Ofcom sets out plans to regulate VoIP

Comment is free

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Ofcom, the UK communications industry regulator, has set out details of its new approach to internet telephony, updating earlier guidance published in 2004. Ofcom is consulting on its new proposals.

Internet telephony is the ability to make voice calls over any internet connection, particularly broadband, using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Internet telephony service providers can provide regular and enhanced phone line services, at reduced cost, with calls to other internet phones, often free of charge.

The new voice services also offer consumers the prospect of sophisticated call handling and messaging, multi-party conference calls and video calls.

Ofcom published interim guidance on VoIP services in 2004, but since then there have been significant developments in the sector, relating to the choice of providers, the services offered and the equipment customers use.

Many more people are using the service today. According to Ofcom, there are now more than 500,000 active VoIP users in the UK, and take-up growth is forecast to continue.

With this in mind, Ofcom is updating its regulatory requirements to ensure they adequately meet the needs of both customers and providers.

The watchdog is proposing a code for VoIP service providers to ensure customers are given important information about service capability. This would include information on reliability, whether access to emergency calls is offered, the reliability of such access, the portability of telephone numbers, and whether information such as directory listing is offered.

Ofcom is also updating its guidance to encourage VoIP providers to offer access to 999 emergency services and help them comply with existing regulation of voice services, including requirements for publicly available telephone services (PATS).

Comments are sought by May 3.

See the consultation.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.