Vol. 1 (2005)

VOIP: The Future Of Telephony Is Now… If Regulation Doesn’t Get In The Way

Burt A. Braverman

VoIP is an innovative new form of telephony that can dramatically enhance both the efficiency and functionality of telephone service to businesses and individuals around the globe. Regulators worldwide are now faced with the choice of whether to impose inapt, antiquated monopoly-based telecom regulations on VoIP or to exercise regulatory restraint and allow this dynamic communications medium to flourish. This article examines some of the technical aspects of VoIP, and considers why this new technology is rapidly gaining popularity in both industrialised and developing nations alike. The article also analyses the changes in the regulatory environment in the United States, including major rulings by the Federal Communications Commission and federal courts that have occurred in the wake of VoIP's rise in popularity and cross-platform acceptance. Finally, the article looks at some of the issues that regulators in other countries, including India, must address as the legal framework relevant to VoIP continues to evolve.

Author

Member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia; Partner, Cole, Raywid & Braverman LLP, Washington D.C.; B.A. ’66, Miami University; J.D. ’69, George Washington University