Thursday, May 19, 2005

The FCC has spoken 

and I have (like everybody) to put my 2 cents worth into the blogosphere:

What are the lessons to be learnt?

Lesson 1:

For regulators: technology-independent regulation of telecommunication services translates to:
  • as long as you do not touch the PSTN, you are not regulated.
  • if you touch the PSTN, you are PATS
  • it is all about numbers, emergency services and Legal Intercept
For VoIP providers:
  • if you are providing VoIP services as POTS replacement, and also market these services as POTS replacement, you should not wonder if you finally are regulated like a POTS provider.
Ok, so in the US they have to live with this decision

One possible way forward is what Jeff is hinting at:
  • The Internet will be the Universal Service of the future
  • Forget the PSTN, it will be dead very soon anyway
  • Provide real-time communication services on the Internet only
  • Finally better access to emergency services will be available on the Internet without any need for providers anyway.
Another way forward could be taken with the more feasible and sensitive approach already taken by some European regulators (and Canada):
  • Access to emergency services IS essential and should be provided even if not perfect
  • Providers (new and incumbent), industry and regulators should work together to provide the optimal solutions avaiable at any given time
VoIP providers (especially global acting ones) will need support to provide access to emergency services:
  • A mapping database which is given a location and providing in return an URI to either the responsible PSAP already connected to the Internet or a national specific ESRP
  • Emergency Service Routing Proxies (ESRPs) providing access to the existing national emergency service infrastructure to route calls properly to PSAPs on the PSTN and providing CLI for call-back. These ESRP hide the national specifics
  • A database providing location information to PSAPs accessible by CLI. The database information is provided static by fixed providers (POTS or VoIP)and dynamic by mobile operators or nomadic VoIP providers (via the ESRP). This dateabse is a national matter and can be replaced later by directly providing the information to IP-based PSAPs
This solution could be upgraded continuously

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