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The Progression into VoIP

Posted on: June 6th, 2014

In recent years, voice over internet protocol (voIP) services have begun to be integrated with or entirely replace private branch exchange (PBX) systems. The former operates by delivering communications services such as voice and multimedia through the form of an internet connection. PBX uses hardware or software to connect telephone extensions to public telephone or mobile networks. As the progression of a business world run by VoIP continues to develop, a greater number of people are considering the use of VoIP systems. The benefits of utilizing VoIP services include perks such as greater efficiency, reduced costs, and simpler management, among other things. With the expansion of VoIP, there are also many issues with regulation and standardization that must be addressed before going forward.

Cutting Edge Technologies Lead the Way

Taking a look at the trends of highly successful companies in the technological communications industry will prove the importance of VoIP in today's business world. VoIP and telecom services are provided to companies such as Google, Skype, Vonage, and Republic Wireless. These businesses are extremely popular for their high quality voice communications and multimedia services. Google's Hangouts and Skype's calling features have innovated the world of communications during this age of the computer. A company called Bandwidth has recently moved to the vanguard in this revolutionizing charge in the industry of communications. Originally a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), Bandwidth has reinvented themselves by providing high quality communications and great VoIP. Following the examples of some of the most successful companies and integrating VoIP is becoming a popular decision among business owners.

Regulations for Emergency Calling

Just as the issue came to the forefront when Vonage was just starting out, whether or not to make emergency 911 calling available is now being considered as a regulated requirement for VoIP services. This is not a new issue since it has been discussed since the first days of IP PBX. Technologies and services are constantly expanding, so this will likely become a normal point of discussion when something new reaches the market. Since public switched telephone networks (PSTN) require that calls are available for emergency services, the FCC will likely ensure that this trend carries on to the next generation of VoIP services. Emergency 911 services will become mandatory for all VoIP communications as the new system progressively replaces the older methods. The Communications Assistance Law Enforcement Act, a wiretapping law that requires all telecommunication devices to be equipped for surveillance capabilities by law enforcement, will also need to be supported by VoIP services.

Not included in past FCC regulation debates, the Federal Communications Commission has hopes to regulate text messaging services and the systems of first responders so that emergency services can be requested by deaf people and those in a situation where talking is not possible. This emergency 911 service can standardize VoIP location services in order to make response times and communication more efficient. While this idea works great in theory for individuals who solely send messages through the services included in phones, many apps can be used to send messages and these do not always include specific information such as location. The current debate is related to developing a standard for these phones, apps, and VoIP, so that this is no longer an issue.

FCC Regulation for Quality Control

Privacy rights protected by regulations for incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) are also being considered by the FCC in order to protect users of VoIP. As an expanding market, there are currently a few areas where inexperienced providers can provide inadequate services such as a simple voice app to those looking for cutting edge VoIP technology. In order to prevent this, the FCC needs to develop regulation that prevents such unethical practices from occurring. Other possibilities for VoIP regulation include standardizing routing practices in order to ensure quality control. Also a pattern that occurs as new technologies expand, there are many terms being used that do not have a standard definition. Without a definition, confusion occurs and services could be different between each provider. An example of this is voice over LTE (VoLTE) services. Without a definition, this could simply mean a phone call or a telephone service passed over an LTE data signal. If regulation does not require a standard for the definitions of services such as this, it can be difficult for consumers to inform themselves on what exactly they are trying to purchase from a specific company.

In order to reap the full financial and utilization benefits of VoIP, it will definitely become necessary for the Federal Communications Commission to concern themselves with public policy and VoIP communications. Proper regulation and VoIP provider cooperation will help ensure that consumers can enjoy the maximum benefits that the new technologies can offer companies.

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