The challenges of regulating new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services were raised today in a discussion paper released by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).
"The aim of this discussion paper is to look at how well VoIP services fit into the current regulatory arrangements and what adjustments, if any, are required to accommodate this new technique," said ACA acting chairman Dr Bob Horton.
The discussion paper, Regulatory Issues Associated with Provision of Voice Services Using Internet Protocol in Australia, identifies challenges in the regulation of rapidly expanding VoIP services with recommendations to the government as to how these challenges might be met.
"This may show that the principles of the current legislation are still satisfactory, but their regulatory application may need some tailoring for VoIP," said Horton.
Although VoIP is already being used extensively across corporate networks, this examination of regulatory issues has been brought about as the popularity of broadband has strengthened VoIP's presence in residential markets.
"There are impressive reports on the quality of corporate network VoIP services," Horton said. "However, part of the ACA's role is to make sure that general consumers are not left behind."
Support for universal service, emergency call services, safeguards for consumers and access for people with a disability were just some of some of the issues raised in the discussion paper, said Horton.