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Ofcom comes out with consultation paper on VoIP

Britain's communications and media regulator Ofcom has come out with a consultation document outlining basic consumer protection measures and a modality for investigating complaints with regard to VoIP services. It will accept responses from the public until May and then come out with its final report in August.

Published :
Sat, 25 Feb 2006 06:50
By : David Simms
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LONDON: Britain's communications and media regulator Ofcom has come out with a consultation document outlining basic consumer protection measures and a modality for investigating complaints with regard to VoIP services. It will accept responses from the public until May and then come out with its final report in August.

The regulator has stepped in as VoIP is increasingly being used to make cheap telephone calls over the internet. It had published initial guidelines for VoIP service providers in September 2004 but it now feels that some regulation is necessary because of recent technology advances and increasing response from the users.

It is estimated that VoIP users have suddenly gone up to 500,000, compared to some couple of thousands about 18 months ago when Ofcom investigated the market. In addition to BT and Skype, there are several service providers now in the market, including established telecom players like U.S. company Vonage, France's Wanadoo and Tesco.

There are issues of reliability and quality of the service provided and Ofcom is insisting that the service providers clarify on these issues to the users. It is proposing a code so that customers are made aware of the limitations.

The regulator is also urging the service providers to offer access to 999 emergency services, which is hitherto not provided.


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