View Full Version : Regulatory Concerns Abound in Switch from PSTN to VoIP

VoIP News & PR
06-23-2014, 10:07 AM
The telephony market is witnessing a switch from the old voice standard, PSTN, to the future as driven by the Internet, VoIP. The complications that come with making the switch from one to the other are great in number and range from codec support to regulatory control to 911 mapping. The folks over at Network World have tackled the various issues in an ongoing series of blog posts dedicated to the topic. Recently, the tech news organization said there may be more questions than answers at this point.

Network World said that it spoke previously with Greg Rogers, the deputy general council at Bandwidth, a wholesale telecom service provider. Rogers mentioned that the FCC is struggling to come up with solutions for the regulation of VoIP services. When Vonage first came into being, the FCC debated on whether or not it and other similar telephony providers should be required to support E-911. This is a standard that, through the debate, came to be required of such IP-PBX callers, and now the Commission is tackling the issue of how such callers should handle text messages.

Some people may look at text messages as a manner of communicating informally, but for many hearing-impaired individuals, the ability to phone E-911 with a text could save their lives. One of the biggest problems with receiving texts is that location accuracy is hard to determine if texts are sent through apps that are not tied to specific phones.

Similarly, the FCC is taking on regulation of consumer privacy, attempting to decide whether or not voice over LTE (VoLTE) is a broadband service or phone call, and whether or not WebRTC should need to support E-911.

All of this comes on top of the codec support challenges the FCC must deal with and which outside service providers need to address as well. Either companies will need to support the same codecs universally or allow for transmission between their networks, or third-party intermediaries will need to step in to essentially force the separate codecs to intermingle. There is a lot on the FCC's and telephony providers' plates at the moment. The transition to VoIP, if it will come, is not proving itself simple.