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Johanne Torres[September 9, 2004]

Ofcom Watches Over VoIP in the UK


In efforts to start regulation of commercial Voice over IP (VoIP) (define - news - alert - tutorial) services in the UK, Ofcom�the television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications regulator for the UK, allocated area codes for providers of the hot technology.


The new available numbers will allow VoIP consumers to have different choices for numbers to use when signing up. They will be able to select between keeping their current digits, asking their provider for a new geographical prefix�which should begin with 01 or 02, or use the �online� code of 056. This will enable identification of callers� location.


This announcement sets off a new line of VoIP regulation efforts, which will surely begin to protect consumers� rights and watch over the expected adoption of the technology on a commercial level in the UK.


According to news reports, just like in the U.S., British VoIP service providers seem to be in disagreement with future regulation plans, which call for superbills�itemized, overtaxed, and very similar to regular telephone service bills.


The telecom organization unquestionably established that it is all �for� the expansion of VoIP services adoption in Britain. Ofcom is making public a plea for service providers to voice out their views and any plans in the works that will benefit a smooth transition towards regulating the new service offerings, making sure consumers get what they pay for. The entity plans to have an open forum until November 15 of this year.


It will be interesting to see how the providers and Ofcom participate in this brainstorming session, and what kind of results will they get out of these baby steps towards regulation, compared to plans in the U.S. Even more interesting would be to know what kind of ideas they come up with in terms of E911-like emergency plans during natural disasters, as well as power and service outages.



Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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