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VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol or “It is not Voice over IP; it is Everything over IP…” Bob Pepper, FCC. Three Views of VoIP. VoIP is the “poster child” for the ongoing convergence of communication systems

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Voice over Internet Protocol


“It is not Voice over IP; it is Everything over IP…” Bob Pepper, FCC.

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Three Views of VoIP

  • VoIP is the “poster child” for the ongoing convergence of communication systems

  • VoIP is a key element in the “Perfect Storm” that is turning telecommunications on its head

  • VoIP is simply a better way to make a phone call…NBD

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The Law of the Horse

“Technological advances must continually be evaluated and their relation to legal rules determined so that antiquated rules are not misapplied in modern settings… Yet, if the substance of a transaction has not changed, new technology does not require a new legal rule merely because of its novelty.”

Daniel v. Dow Jones & Co. (N.Y.C. Civ. Ct 1987) and Steve McDonald, ICPL 2004

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Telecommunications Service:

Provides basic voice service for a fee

Highly regulated

Behavior (anti-trust, consumer protection…)

Revenue (USF, 911…)

Information Service

Provides enhanced communication service that involves data storage/processing i.e. Internet access, voice mail….


Two Worlds

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We haven’t regulated the Internet because we didn’t know how to…Senator Cantwell

Prediction: VoIP is going to make them figure it out

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Telecom or Information Service? how to…The three flavors of VoIP

  • Computer to Computer: all Internet

  • Computer to Phone or Phone to Computer

  • Phone to Internet to Phone

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Telecom or Information? how to…

  • Computer to Computer: all Internet

    • Pulver Decision

    • Information Service – no regulation

  • Computer to Phone or Phone to Computer

  • Phone to Internet to Phone

    • AT&T Decision

    • Telecommunications Service – full regulation

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What is it ? how to…

“VoIP breaks the mold.  It is voice as a data service.  Considered another way, the 1996 (Telecommunications) Act assumes that data applications operate on top of a regulated voice network.  VoIP, by contrast, delivers voice on top of an Internet protocol data channel, which can run on anytype of digital network.”

….Kevin Werbach

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If in doubt don’t regulate how to…

“First do no harm”…Chairman Powell

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But, what if a lot of people switch to VoIP? how to…

Four major issues + one more

  • Law Enforcement Access (CALEA)

  • Emergency 911 Service (Public Safety)

  • Access for the disabled (Disabilities Act)

  • Support for the Universal Service Fund

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One more problem with not regulating: how to…

Commercial network owners tend to be large, powerful and few in number… can they be trusted if left unregulated?

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VoIP and the Law of the Horse how to…

  • Should the existing telephone regulations apply to VoIP?

  • Should a new system be designed that maintains essential public services but is a better fit for the IP world?

  • Should we totally refrain from regulating VoIP?

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CALEA how to…

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

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A brief history of wiretapping how to…

1960’s : Wiretapping was easy; one phone company; basic technology

1980’s: Deregulation means multiple carriers; cell phones; analog to digital transition begins

1994: CALEA passed with several compromises; specifically no Internet; no private networks

2004: VoIP: Wiretapping isn’t getting any easier…

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Federal and State Wiretap Orders for 2003 how to…

  • 1,442

  • 12 for computer communications (all successful)

  • Taken from: the "2003 Wiretap Report", issued April 30, 2004, available at http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap03/contents.html

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Law Enforcement how to…

Criminals will increasingly use VoIP; it is a “substantial replacement” for phones

Needs to be easier and less expensive for LE

Applies to any system that connects to the public Internet

ISPs must pay compliance costs

All Others

LE has sufficient access now

Cost to comply can’t be justified

Will slow innovation and broadband adoption

Raises privacy questions

Data: how do you separate out voice?


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CALEA Predictions how to…

  • It will pass with compromises

  • Industry standards will prevail (Cisco, Juniper)

  • Private networks will be exempt