The unified communication systems and VoIP services industry is growing with every innovation that comes down the pipeline. A new report, has the market topping $2.5 billion in revenue for 2012. As the industry grows, however, it starts to come under the scope of government regulations and that scopes bring with it some controversy.
There is new legislation in California, Senate Bill 1161, that bans the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) from regulating VoIP services.
Supporters of the bill say regulations would stifle innovation and inhibit investment. It also has the potential to open up a can of worms since VoIP is internet-based, regulating it would be regulating the web, a highly sensitive topic.
Those opposed to the bill, mainly consumer advocate groups, mention that the commission pays closer attention to consumer’s interests than the legislation does.
There are a few issues, however, that the bill doesn’t clarify that should be considered, according to an editorial by the Modestro Bee newspaper, that looked at all side of the bill.
First, the commission enforces privacy and there is no mention of VoIP users privacy rights that are currently enjoyed by telephone users, the editorial says. The commission also regulates worker safety, which again, is glossed over in the new bill. Finally there is a tax issue as, as some companies, like Amazon, have refused to collect utility taxes from customers, money that goes into supporting telecommunications systems.
Regulating VoIP is not unheard of, though it does tend to be more extreme. The Ethiopian government just ratified a new law that outlaws VoIP services without proper licensing. This move is considered by some to be a form of government-sponsored censorship.
There are 20 other states that have already adopted legislation deregulating Internet phone services, and for the time being it appears this one will pass also. As VoIP options grow, staying informed is a key component for businesses. Partnering with an IT service provider like CTI Technology is a smart investment for any company using or interested in a VoIP system.
The Ethiopian government just ratified a new law that outlaws VoIP services without proper licensing. This move is considered by some to be a form of government-sponsored censorship.