Will Internet Telephony Bring About a Revolution in Telecom Policy?
Many Internet engineers and technologists have long dreamed about a day when voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, or “Internet telephony,” would supplement if not totally supplant, traditional analog, circuit-switched communications networks. This dream may soon become a reality as the VoIP service has blossomed and is increasingly being used by consumers to bypass traditional phone lines and regulations. The revolutionary impact of VoIP has not gone unnoticed by policy makers, however, as discussions are underway at the federal and state level about how to regulate Internet telephony as it grows more popular. Should VoIP be treated like traditional telecommunications services and regulated and taxed accordingly, or is a new regulatory regime in order? And can VoIP be regulated at all given the ubiquitous nature of Internet communications? These issues will be discussed by a diverse panel of industry experts.