Challenges ahead from the
FBI"> Perhaps the most imminent regulatory challenge to IP-enabled telephony is brought by the FBI, which has complained that leaving new voice communications technologies unregulated denies law enforcement the tools needed to tap conversations and otherwise seek information. The FBI is expected to petition the FCC in the next few weeks to determine what kinds of IP-enable communications should be covered under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, and the commission will initiate a separate proceeding to deal with those questions.At the same time that it launched the VOIP examination, the FCC ruled that Pulver.coms Free World Dialup service is not subject to telecommunications regulation, classifying it as an information service because it is a software application much like instant messaging or e-mail. The majority of commissioners expressed a hope that services like Free World Dialup might present a new mode of competition in local telephonysomething that the agency has struggled to foment since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Commissioner Michael Copps, noting the concerns of the FBI, said he was troubled by the decision to declare Free World Dialup unregulated before addressing public safety challenges and other social policy matters. Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein cautioned that the Pulver.com decision seemed to pre-judge the outcome of the VOIP proceeding. For clothing wholesaler Tramp Inc. in New York, VOIP service from Broadview Networks Inc. is just like regular telephone service, only less expensive, said Srini Parvatheneni, controller at Tramp. The company saved approximately $650 in three months on per-minute usage charges, Parvatheneni said, adding that he is saving money on line charges as well. "This eliminates the need to pay for each additional line," he said. "With Broadview, you can have four more lines on the same system. Four customers can be on the line at the same time." Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at messaging.eweek.com for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Security experts recently noted that VOIP and video-conferencing applications may bring new threats. Read more here about their concerns.