By Ellen Muraskin  |  Posted 2004-11-10 Print this article Print

In contrast, a connection from Zultys SIP PBX out to an SIP-based carrier requires a $30-per-port license fee, said Ferriter. And it can be accomplished—assuming your data pipe is wide enough—just as soon as the provider sets up your account and you configure your PBX and point it at the providers IP address. Just because the states rights to regulate access fees and universal service charges will not apply to VOIP doesnt mean these fees can disappear altogether, however. Someone has to pay to keep rural residents and businesses reachable, and their carriers solvent.
"People can forget that universal service has a market value," Jackson said. "I may not want to call rural Nebraska, but Im not sure I want to buy my service from someone who excludes them. From that standpoint, rural operators should get something."
The FCC will have to tackle a whole host of issues to get this money—or some of it—out of callers, and the cost of VOIP service may not be able to stay as low as it is now when theyre done. But the amounts required may dwindle as more economic ways are found to tie in rural areas. "It doesnt follow that we have the same cost structure we have today, especially if you look at things like broadband over power. Maybe some of these rural areas wont have the same costs," Jackson said. Click here to read about how Canada is dealing with the issue of VOIP regulation. Intercarrier compensation will have to be rethought as well. Now based on paying local carriers per minute for completed or originated calls, it will have to move towards capacity-based compensation, Jackson said, "based on the size of the pipe they provide to other carriers." And Jackson noted that the Feds will take over for the states in regulating certain basic public interest requirements, which have costs. But the states may be left in the picture in part. "I think theyll work with the states, too, on things like disabled access, law enforcement, Universal Service fees, intercarrier compensation, and emergency wiretap," he said. "I think the FCC will set the broad parameters, and the day-to-day, consumer problems—such things as fraud, false marketing—will be handled at the state level." VOIP & Telephony Center Editor Ellen Muraskin can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.

Ellen Muraskin is editor of's VOIP & Telephony Center. She has worked on the editorial staff at Computer Telephony, since renamed Communications Convergence, including three years as executive editor. Muraskin's work has also appeared in Popular Science magazine and other publications.

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