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FCC Begins Review of VOIP Communications

By Caron Carlson  |  Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Federal regulators on Thursday took the first step toward migrating all voice traffic onto IP-based networks.

WASHINGTON—Federal regulators on Thursday took the first step on a journey that will likely lead to the end of the traditional public switched-telephone network and the migration of all voice traffic onto IP-based networks. While there may be twists and turns along the way, including detours set by the FBI, the destination points to more innovative communications services at lower costs.

In launching an examination of IP-enabled communications, the Federal Communications Commission outlined various ways to classify the latest technology to converse remotely. Depending how the various forms of VOIP offerings on the market are classified, there could be a broad range of regulations applied to the services.

Today, the VOIP umbrella includes computer-to-computer calls that travel over the public Internet, like Pulver.com Inc.'s Free World Dialup; calls between computers and phones, such as those delivered by Vonage Inc.; and more traditional phone-to-phone calls that travel over dedicated networks that are upgraded for IP transmissions.

Recognizing the historic implications of his decision to propose federal rules for Internet-enabled technologies, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the opportunities presented by IP are greater than its challenges.

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