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FCC Forum Divided on Future VoIP Regulation

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the not-a-question-of-if dept.

United States 232

ElCheapo writes "As the great philosopher Eminem once said, 'The FCC won't let [VoIP] be, or let [VoIP] be free.' In Washington today, the FCC held a public forum 'to gather information concerning advancements, innovations, and regulatory issues related to VoIP services.' Slashdot has seen numerous stories on VoIP regulation recently, but Tom Evslin, CEO of ITXC, brought up another point: If VoIP is over-regulated, it will not go away, it will just move to other countries and reach the point where regulation can no longer be enforced. With or without VoIP regulation, will a global P2P (PSTN-connected) voice network emerge? Will it start out as hobbyists setting up Asterisk Open Source PBX boxes connected to their home POTS line? Will some form of ENUM allow least cost routing to boxes sitting in basements and garages around the world? If an ITSP in Europe can setup an Asterisk box with PSTN access and start offering US phone numbers and vice-versa, will global number plans become obsolete? What effect will the ridiculously low barrier to entry for VoIP have on telecommunications?"

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HOtel Gresed Up Yoda (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611247)

On a dark butt-soaked highway Jedi jizz in my hair Warm smell of anal grease Rising up through the air Up ahead in the distance I saw a frigthening sight My head grew heavy, and my anas grew slim I had to stop for the night There he stood in the doorway Smelled jedi ass juice smell And I was thinking to myself This could be Heaven or this could be Hell Then he lit up a candle And he showed me the way There were voices down the corridor I thought I heard them say Welcome to the Hotel Greased Up Yoda Doll Such a lovely place Such a lovely place (background) Such a lovely face Plenty of room in my anus at the Hotel Greased Up Yoda Doll Any time of year Any time of year (background) You can find him there You can find him there His jedi mind is Tiffany twisted he's got the Mercedes bends She's got a lot of pretty, pretty faggot boys That he calls friends How they dance in the courtyard Sweet summer glory hole Some grease their anus to remember Some grease their anus to forget So I called up the Captain Please bring me my lube He said We haven't had that spirit here since 1969 And still those voices are calling from far away Wake you up in the middle of the night Just to hear them say Welcome to the Hotel Greased Up Yoda Doll Such a lovely Place Such a lovely Place (background) Such a lovely face They're livin' it up at the Hotel Greased Up Yoda Doll What a nice surprise What a nice surprise (background) Bring your alibies Mirrors on the ceiling Pink champagne on ice And he said We are all just prisoners here Yodas stuffed up our ass And in the master's chambers They gathered for the feast Plunge it up there with their steely knives But they just can't kill the beast Last thing I remember I in ecstasy Greased up yoda doll shoved right up my ass Relax you anus said the nightman We are programed to recieve You can put that yoda doll up your anus But you can never leave

Re:HOtel Gresed Up Yoda (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611493)

hello anonymous coward... what's happening?

uhhhhh... we got sort of a problem here... yeaah... you appearantly didn't put one of the new GNAA advertisements on your first post.

mmmh... yeahh.. you see, we're putting the GNAA advertisements on all first posts now before they go out. did you see the memo about this?

so if you could just go ahead and make sure you do that from now on, that would be great.

and i'll go ahead and make sure you get another copy of that text. mmmmkay?


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611248)

I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
and to the Republic for which it shoves,
one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
with anal lube and ass grease for all.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611385)

Gollum is Frodo's uncle!

Gandalf returns and shoves a greased up Yoda doll up Sauron's butt!

The Elvises, disgusted by such flaming assripping leave Middle Earth, never to return!

How quaint. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611251)

The FCC has already made up it's mind: it will hand over the business to the telco conglomerates. The little man has no say in this, these "public meetings" are all a charade.

Re:How quaint. (-1, Redundant)

Melissa Bra (725769) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611292)

Put your tin foil hat back on, cutie! What are you wearing?

Re:How quaint. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611310)

A nice jacket with long arms. I have to type with my nose.

Damn, it smells like they burnt my toast again...

Re:How quaint. (2, Insightful)

iamplupp (728943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611329)

cited from opening remarks by FCC chairman M K Powell: "no regulator, either federal or state, should thread into this area without an absolutely compelling justification for doing so"

Quainter: +1, Being and Freeing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611379)

How can VoIP be free, when the United States of America is ruled by The Thief-In-Chief [] ?

Patriotically yours,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Quainter: +1, Being and Freeing (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611438)

if you surf around your own link you eventually get to this [] is anyone willing to help me out in the purchase of an Impeach Bush Lunch Box?

Re:Quainter: +1, Being and Freeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611603)

What, the welfare check wasn't big enough this month?

Re:How quaint. (2, Insightful)

NewWaveNet (584716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611441)

The FCC has already made up it's mind: it will hand over the business to the telco conglomerates.
I think you're missing the point. Who cares if the FCC decides to regulate things when the companies offering these services are beyond their jurisdiction.

Re:How quaint. (4, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611446)

The little man has no say in this, these "public meetings" are all a charade.

In this case, I would have to disagree.

Any Joe Schmoe with the proper resources (either intellectual or financial) can whip up a VoIP application and communicate over the internet merely free of regulators. This won't change.

Now, all these telecom taxes exist because the PSTN (public switched telephone network) is a monopoly - you can't have multiple PSTN networks. It would become too bulky and there would be no economy of scale. The taxes exist so that this monopoly can be regulated.

Now, I can see a tax when a VoIP device interfaces with the PSTN. But this should only pressure the VoIP industry to move away from the PSTN. PSTN, as stated above, is bulky and not practical when we have efficient packet-switching networks that can easily replace it at 60 percent of the cost.

I vote for taxes on a per-PSTN call basis. This would be a good compromise - those that use packet-switching would not have to support the junk that is PSTN.

I would also like a module to interface with my home phone system. If I dial a "normal" PSTN phone number, it simply routes my call over my POTS phone line. If I dial a # or * prior to an IP address or URL, then it should route my call over my internet connection.

After a while, I wouldn't see the need for a PSTN, anymore.

Re:How quaint. (0, Offtopic)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611659)

wow. AC screaming "Government conspiracy!" gets modded 5 Insightful. Where is my Metamod?

Who gives a %^$@ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611269)

As the great philosopher Comic Book Guy once said of the telephone,

"Worst invention EVER!"

What's the FCC going to regulate next? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611274)

Who can and can't host Goatse content?

Great? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611278)

Great philosopher Eminem? Why not just jump off tall buildings repeatedly?

Re:Great? (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611403)

Well, the fact of the matter is that he actually sang "The FCC won't let me be, or let me be me" so the quote should be "The FCC won't let [VoIP] be, or let [VoIP] be [VoIP]". Is this the part where I get downvoted for quoting song lyrics, even though they were quoted (wrongly) in the title?

Re:Great? (1)

Matt - Duke '05 (321176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611578)

Nahh.. that already happened to my post []

Re:Great? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611420)

Only michael would look up to a shithead like Eminem. Now we know where he gets his shitty ideas.

IMPORTANT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611279)




It is my great pleasure in writing you this letter on behalf of my colleagues and I.I have decided to seek a confidential cooperation with you in the execution of the deal described here for the benefit of all parties involved and hope that you will keep it as top secret because of the nature of the business and the personalities involved.

Though we have never met, but you were introduced by a friend of mine Dr. Arthur Altobelli, saying you are very reliable and worthy of trust.

Within the Ministry of Petroleum Resources where I work as a Director, Project implementation and with the cooperation of four other top officials, we have in our possession as overdue payment bills totaling Eighteen Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand U.S. Dollars (US$18,360,000.00) which we want to transfer abroad with the assistance and cooperation of a trusted foreign firm or individual who will receive the said fund on our behalf into any account provided to receive such funds. We are handicapped in this deal because the Civil Service code of Conduct does not allow public servants like us to operate offshore account, hence your importance in the whole transaction.

The amount (US$18.36M) represent a certain percentage of the total contract value executed on behalf of my Ministry by a foreign contracting firm which we the officials over-invoiced deliberately. Though the actual contract cost have been paid to the original contractor, leaving the balance in the tune of the said amount which we have gotten approval to remit by Telegraphic Transfer (T.T) to Foreign Bank Account you will provide by filling in an application through my Ministry for the transfer of rights and privileges of the former contractor to you.

Since the present new civilian government of my country is determined to pay every foreign contractor all debts owed, so as to maintain good relationship with foreign government and non-government financial agencies, we have decided to include our bill for approval with the cooperation of some officials from the relevant government Ministries which will be involved in the payment processes. We are seeking your assistance inproviding a vital account into which we can remit this money by acting as ourmain partner and trustee or acting as the original contractor. This we can do by swapping of account and changing of beneficiary and other forms of documentation upon application for claim to reflect the payment and approvals to be secured on behalf of you.

I have the authority of my partners involved to propose to you 30% of the US$18.36 Million if you should accept to assist us, 60% for us and 10% for taxation and miscellaneous expenses. The business is 100% safe on your part, but you have to keep it confidential. You should not disclose, or discuss this proposal with anybody no matter how close, for security reasons.

Also, your area of specialization is not a hindrance to the successful execution of this transaction. I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me. Please respond through the email address. It is urgent you indicate your willingness in assisting us so that I will direct you on what next to do. You should include your direct telephone and fax numbers in your response.

Please treat as extremely confidential.

Thanks for your anticipated assistance.

Yours sincerely,

DR. Adams

Re:IMPORTANT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611412)

Deer Dr. Adams,

Can you please advise me on how to extricate this greased up Yoda doll from my ass? I overlooked the fac t that these ears stick out like daggars, and now I am afraid to pull it out.

I am eagerly waiting your answer,

A. Geek

Curious (3, Interesting)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611285)

No idea, really...stating that if the US over-regulates the tech will move overseas is obvious.

What I'm wondering is how far overseas they'll have to move. What are our Canadian neighbors doing?


Re:Curious (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611341)

As a Canadian, I am fully willing to set up a VOIP box in my basement at a very minimal cost to the overtaxed Americans. I am sure that it will run for at least a month before our overbearing and tax hungry government will start to tax the hell out of me too.

Re:Curious (1)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611465)

I'm two hours from the border myself, which is why I was curious.

Perhaps if you were to disguise what you do

Which brings up an interesting question. What if a non-profit organization were to provide services like this to "members", perhaps like a co-op?


Re:Curious (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611538)

I guess if you had a specific set of people that called each other - Uncle Bob in Texas calls Aunt Jane in Istanbul everyday. The problem I see is that you can't usually predict who you will call at any specific time. In business you do not want to set up a whole system to call a customer - you just want to pick up the phone and call him, figure out the cost after the fact. The underlying problem I see is that you have to get everyone to move to VOIP at the same time. Not impossible, but certainly out of my ability.

Re:Curious (2, Informative)

doconnor (134648) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611479)

The Canadian equivalent of the FCC, the CRTC, decided [] years ago not to regulate the Internet.

Re:Curious (1)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611503)

I would consider this a grey area, but as long as they don't, then I'm all for getting Canadian VoIP phone services.

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611523)

"What I'm wondering is how far overseas they'll have to move. What are our Canadian neighbors doing?"

Overseas? Canada?

Re:Curious (1)

fastidious edward (728351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611531)

Overseas doesn't even have to be a country... a second hand oil rig with a satellite connection is all it takes, as long as it's in international waters it isn't bound to any nation's regulation. IIRC several web hosts are set up like this.

Of course they could have special import/export duties on VoIP services... anti free trade taxes seem to be the government's favorite at the moment (at least the steel tarriff is on the way out... cheaper machines for all!).

Re:Curious (2, Interesting)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611545)

The second largest phone company Telus [] is switching most of it's existing POTS [] network to VoIP [] .

And our Mexican Neighbors? (1)

chadjg (615827) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611572)

What can they do about this? It seems to me that they would be nicely positioned to take over telecommunications for huge chunks of the U.S. population.

Obvious problems might include language issues, and a funky regulatory climate, but that isn't any big deal.

I'd really like to know, if screw it up here in the U.S. what will Mexico do?

Asterix - VoIP for me? (2, Interesting)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611287)

So given Debian, Asterix and a modem it's possible for me to set up my own (personal) VoIP line? er... I'm sure I'm missing something. Someone boil all this telco talk down for me ;)

Re:Asterix - VoIP for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611363)

It would be cool if Asterix could control a relay to switch out the PSTN coming into your home and replace it with a local current driver for your phones. It would do this switch when someone was calling you from the internet via VoIP. In reverse, it would be cool to be able to pick up your phone, and dial *123 or something to have your Asterix box take control to switch out the PSTN, then dial a VoIP # that would call anyone in the world!

Is this an essay test? (5, Funny)

plexxer (214589) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611297)

With or without VoIP regulation, will a global P2P (PSTN-connected) voice network emerge? Will it start out as hobbyists setting up Asterisk Open Source PBX boxes connected to their home POTS line? Will some form of ENUM allow least cost routing to boxes sitting in basements and garages around the world? If an ITSP in Europe can setup an Asterisk box with PSTN access and start offering US phone numbers and vice-versa, will global number plans become obsolete? What effect will the ridiculously low barrier to entry for VoIP have on telecommunications?

Answer each question completely, citing examples whenever possible. Use the back of Slashdot for scratchwork if necessary.

What will emerge (5, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611301)

is a global voip network, and pots will become largely irrelevant in connected areas.

The need for pots to internet gateways is what holds us up now.. think of how things owrk once most people are all using voip.. suddenly, it's all software.. adn hooking people together for voice stuff no longer needs ANY kind of centralizing....

it won't be regulated, as ultimately, it can't be.

Re:What will emerge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611389)

it's pretty much like wireless Internet connections. Because the service is cost prohibitive on the commercial side plenty of open connections can be found via a residential connection that was intentionally left open.

I want the government to stop forcing things down our throats for the benefits of money hungry commercial enterprise.

HDTV is a perfect example. Instead of letting consumer demand push something we had wasted tax dollars force the creation of a mandatory governement standard which isn't all that necessary, is cost prohibitive once it is included all on new TVs, and I don't particularly want.

Yay for big business and government mandated control!

it is emerging (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611476)

VoIP is an itch that some people need to scratch and therefore it will happen (well, it *is* happening). To me the question that remains is whether the teleglomerates are onboard or not. Saith the people: You are either with us, or against us -- otherwise you'll just have to lobby the regulations so deeply so as to hinder voip usage/access.

Re:What will emerge (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611482)

I think you will find that any call that terminates in the USA is subject to the FCC's control. Therefore any of those global voip calls terminating in USA is likely to be of interest to them. Maybe before long answering an unlicensed (unauthorised) VoIP call could be a felony.

What you can guarantee is that given the money involved and the telcos' lobbying/bribery powers they won't just roll over and die.

Remember kids, be nice to AT&T, they invented Unix (then sold/gave) it to SCO.

Re:What will emerge (1)

soupart (691584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611576)

As much as I don't want VoIP to become regulated, I think in the end it will be. What happens when the revenue telcos get from their PSTN/POTS and exchange services with other telcos starts to dwindle? They will look for ways to get that revenue back. Want to route a call to a user on my network? Gonna have to pay. Afterall, bandwidth isn't free, right? That's when the FCC gets involved and revamps all the old rules to work with the new technology.

Will it happen soon? I don't think so. Until VoIP is more mainstream to the general public, the PSTN isn't gonna die.

It has already started (3, Insightful)

srboneidle (648298) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611302)

I don't really understand how any regulation on VOIP would work. Living in England, I speak to my family in Spain on a daily basis using VOIP. At the moment I sit down if front of a computer and use microphone/speakers. How long will it be until someone comes up with a telephone type device which you plug into your DSL modem?

Re:It has already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611325)

Like a LinkSys router, for instance?

Re:It has already started (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611346)

i believe Cisco already has a VoIP phone for businesses. one office i worked in we had something like one of these. your phone acted like a normal phone. VoIP for internal. and converted to normal tele when you dialed an outside #.

Re:It has already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611360)

At the moment I sit down if front of a computer and use microphone/speakers.

Have you considered using a microphone/earphones headset [] ? Doesn't get much simpler.

Re:It has already started (1)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611388)

Kinda like this [] ?

I think the next "killer app" will be a linux box that does this AND has the ability to sync up your entire house's phone system. Right now, with Vonage, I do not believe there is a way to do can only have the phone coming out of the router. It would be really nifty if someone could hook up a router box with a "Modem"-like card that just plugs into your box and a phone jack. That phone jack would then feed the rest of the house.

Re:It has already started (2, Interesting)

oakbox (414095) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611402)

There are devices like this now, Vonage, comes to mind, though the early VOIP providers are going through a price war/shakeout so it's hard to see who will come out on top (or with the standard).
There is a basic assumption in the original post, local calls are not free here in the Netherlands. You pay for every minute on the phone, it's just a question of how much. And individual connection points doesn't scale well. VOIP and traditional telcos will merge only with the agreement and participation of the telcos.
The race right now is to see which road we go down, a complete one for one replacement of traditional phone connections or a merging of telcos into VOIP. Several telcos are starting to move their internal traffic over IP right now, so I think we'll see the second future.
Nothing is really free (as in beer), and if it is, it's only because someone hasn't figured out how to charge you for it.

Re:It has already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611486)

I use VoIP every day with my regular cordless phone. Works great. $20/mo. Has occasional bugs but for the most part up to speed.

Re:It has already started (1)

srboneidle (648298) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611498)

What I really meant is why use the current telephone system at all? As flat rate high speed internet connections become more and more common it becomes that much easier to stick to pure VOIP. All you have to do is make it as easy as dialing a phone and people will use it. I haven't paid for a phone call to my family for a long time now.

PS: I highly recommend TeamSpeak ( which is what I use at the moment.

Re:It has already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611406)

Actually there are several voip phones. There are even terminal adapters that will let you use your existing phones on a voip connection (cisco ATA-188 for example). Grandstream technologies [ [] ] offers several low cost options for the home user. We use the Cisco 7960's at work with asterisk on the backend doing voicemail and handling call routing etc. It's been an excellent experience for us.

The big question for me (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611307)

How long until we start seeing the P2P-based net phone networks able to connect to POTS?

All it would take is one 10-10-whatever-like pay service where you call a node on the P2P network, then enter a real-life phone number, which they connect you to..

Great Philosopher Eminem (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611315)

Someday, when all of Slashdot past/present/future can fit on a storage device the size of a thumbnail, some poor shmuck of a kid will decide to do his history project on a great philosopher on one his teacher never heard of. He'll google for "great philosopher", and you can imagine the downward spiral from there. Buddy, you can have the responsibility, not me. Congratulations.

Re:Great Philosopher Eminem. (1)

kmankmankman2001 (567212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611387)

"Rapito ergo sum" Hey, why not toss that in to further confuse the kid and his teacher? Yes, apparently this philosopher Eminem gave birth to that essential truth "I rap, therefore I am"

Just The Facts (5, Informative)

Pave Low (566880) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611321)

For those who want to know what the issue is about, instead of scanning the submitter's poor writeup filled with his slant and myriad questions, here's a better article on what's going on.

FCC Chairman Powell Opposes Internet Phone Regulation. []

Re:Just The Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611467)

Thank you. Has anyone noticed that most of the "submitter's" writeups fall into the poor category?

Why should IP make telephone calls free? (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611338)

I've said this before... when phone moved from copper to fibre, the regulations didn't change so why expect them to change when the underlying medium is IP? I'm not saying the regulation is a GoodThing, but surely any arguments that say that a change to IP as a medium is just plain illogical.

Sure, this could drive some VoIp offshore, but what they're likely controlling is the call itself. If the call originates or terminates in the USofA, then the call falls under FCC control and they will want their slice.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611453)

Moving physical carrier medium from copper to fiber is not the same thing here. The conversations are still carried by fiber, just packed a level or two down into a network protocol. Just like the FCC doesn't regulate what frequencies you put out on the PSTN (cause they're filtered to 300Hz-3kHz bandwidth anyway) they shouldn't care what sequence of bits are communicated on the same media.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (1)

azpcox (88971) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611475)

The real question you should ask is why are phone calls so expensive in the first place? Originally, the regulation was in place to make sure the rural areas had access to the telecommunications, so regulation still may make some sense in that regard.

But what makes a phone call different from an email, or from an instant message chat with someone around the world? The only difference is speed. So should the FCC put caps on speed to make sure VOIP is not allowed? Buy a cable modem and pay a monthly SPEED tax to use VOIP and other services? Sending pictures falls into the same category since it is just an information transfer, so iChat AV is really hosed (but really cool).

I agree with you that the FCC has no choice but to regulate it, but the only reason will be for money and not for any other technical reason. It's time to stop subsidizing bad business models and short sightedness in the form of the current RBOCs.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611481)

why expect them to change when the underlying medium is IP?

Okay, charge for the medium in general then (IP, cable, DSL, etc...), not particular applications running on top of it (irc, email, voip). Applications are far too fluid, innovative, and morphable/hidable (especialy for geeks like us) for the government to define exactly what should be charged for and what shouldn't. (though you could say that about radio waves too, *grumble*). I don't want an intrusive infrastructure hard-wired into my computer or on the ISP's side that analyzes every packet and charges differently for each one.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (4, Insightful)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611602)

VOIP is that just that Voice over IP, be it Sip or H323 or any thing else. So now I should pay money because I play Counterstrike and use voice enabled feature to talk to my teammates? Or Xbox live users? Or using video conferencing over IM? Or any of the web conferencing products? Better yet, why should I be double taxed. I already pay taxes on my telephone line, now you want me to be double taxed because I'm using VOIP too? VOIP is only part of the future, SIP which can specify many different types of communication will be the future. People keep thinking our phones are going to be used for voice only, take a look at cell phones. Its going to be text messages(sms), video conferencing, picture messageing(mms) and much more. I guess we could kill it now by over regulating it since change is bad.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611628)

when phone moved from copper to fibre, the regulations didn't change so why expect them to change when the underlying medium is IP?

because i can afford for 30 bucks a month an adsl line that gives me IP to do voice over it, but i didnt have the same chance with fiber.

Massification is a function of price. This has to change the regulations or you face a monopoly like i do in my country, one that will be made innefective because they wont be able to stop the voip revolution even if they want to. It will just take more time than if we didnt have a monopoly.

If you guys have the chance to do it right from the begining, do so.

Re:Why should IP make telephone calls free? (2, Informative)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611655)

This shouldn't be regulated for the same reason that data connections (read: your 57.6 kbps modem) over POTS lines are not - because the line is already paid for. The transmission medium can be FO, Cu, or even PVC pipe (if you can get that to carry a signal), but one way or another, the plumbing as it were is covered. Just because you change the content of the signal doesn't mean that the pipes are radically altered. TCP/IP is just part of that hash of stuff that travels over the wire.

To charge just to send VoIP data over a TCP/IP line along with all the other crap that goes with a TCP/IP line is a hearkening back to the "modem tax" proposal from the 1980s.

Free VoiP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611339)

I caught briefly on CNN this morning that there's a company offering free VoiP as long as both users are using client software. Does anyone know who that company is?

It's something like Spyde or similiar.. maybe begins with a C, and has five or six letters...

Re:Free VoiP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611472)

Probably Skype []

Skype (1)

Pii (1955) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611569)

I think you're talking about Skype [] .

Haven't tried it out yet myself, but 3.3+ Megadownloads can't be wrong.

Interesting (1)

turtlexit (720052) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611340)

I'll be interested to see what comes of this. If the FCC does successfully implement regulation (read: taxation) on VoIP services, it seems like this could be the first step of further future regulation of Internet services.

With global networking technology, I think we'll be seeing a big change in telecommunication service in the coming years.

Already paid for (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611342)

What this comes down to is companies suddenly realizing they are set to lose market share. We are rather successfully using iChat AV to remotely collaborate from N. America to New Zealand, but here is the deal. We are already paying for access to the Internet out of our grant indirect costs to the university. So are others that are paying to have access to the Internet from their homes and businesses. If the major phone companies have not been on the ball enough to see this one coming, perhaps they need new boards of directors or CEO's as voice over IP has not been an overnight phenomenon. Furthermore, the government should not be stepping in to attempt to rescue companies that have not been smart enough to adequately compete. Right? Is this what market consolidation and deregulation done for us?

Re: Government Lifeboats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611405)

Yeah, there is far too much rescuing of poorly run companies, or businesses that have simply run their course by lobbied governments. In my city (Calgary) they are passing a new law to make it very costly to own cars older than 1990 on the premise that these older cars are causing most of the pollution. I am sorry, but I fail to believe a 1986 Ford Escort produces more emissions than a Cadillac Escalade. I think the slowing auto market has more to do with this decision. Natural Evolution works great as long as we quite poking at it.

Re: Government Lifeboats (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611632)

It is called emissions testing.

I have a modded 87 Mustang that would be subjected to the restrictions there in Calgary.

Through diligent and careful tuning my car has emissions like that of a new car combined with an average gas mileage of about 26mpg. (Best part: 315 RWHP, 2700lb curb weight.. or about 1.5 times the RWHP of most performance sedans, half the weight of a medium-large SUV, and twice the gas mileage of a larger SUV).

My car should is tested to the same emissions standard. (Here in ATL it is) If it meets the requirements I can continue driving it, if it does not I have to make it so or spend some amount of money attempting to make it so. Any other regulation is simply silly. For all the goverment knows I could put a brand new LE engine in my old beater car :)


Re:Already paid for (1)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611449)

Furthermore, the government should not be stepping in to attempt to rescue companies that have not been smart enough to adequately compete.
Unless it compromises national infrastructure, things such as railroads, highways, energy generation... and telecom.

Re:Already paid for (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611621)

Well, if you really want to deter this kind of behavior, you should't be offering them a bailout (which is nothing more than a reward for screwing everybody over.) You should, instead, threaten them with nationalization - that will really light a fire under their asses. Otherwise, there's every incentive to cut muscle along with fat, in the name of profits during lean times, because you know that the government will step in with cheap loans, debt forgiveness, tax incentives, etc. if you run into trouble.

Re:Already paid for (1)

Yazheirx (205206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611664)

Would VOIP not simply combind telecom and the internet? And as the internet was created by the DOD to work reliably; wouldn't this increas our overall infrastrucure reliability?

Fair pricing (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611350)

We may finally get fair pricing for long distance. I don't really see the point of long distance fees. It is not like the phone company had to walk the call there. Voice calls are routed along side IP packets, the only added cost to IP traffic is some grandfather clause letting Telco companies still gouge us. Besides, in Canada at least, most Telco networks were already paid for by people owned companies, so I do not accept cost recovery as an answer either.

Welcome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611355)

I, for one, welcome our new FCC overlords.

Not as long as it is a 'linux only' product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611368)

Will it start out as hobbyists setting up Asterisk Open Source PBX boxes connected to their home POTS line?

Asterisk is in 4th place or later because you have:

Gnomemeeting - works today and interoperates with Winblows.
Vocal - Cisco is behind this SIP implementation.
Linphone - there may even be a working windows version. (can interoperate with Vocal)
And even Bayonne interoperates with more platforms then Asterisk.

Re:Not as long as it is a 'linux only' product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611499)

hahaha! you called it "winblows".. hahahaha...

Re:Not as long as it is a 'linux only' product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611640)

No.. Asterisk is a PBX based on Linux. It's not like Linphone or Gnomemeeting. You can use those peices of software _behind_ a asterisk box...

Asterisk handles things link telephone extensions, voicemail, and hooking PSTN and VoIP networks. It a "backend" peice of software.

Moeny money money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611371)

The only thing holding VOIP back is the FCC deciding who gets money from it. I mean, the only reason the US isn't using solar power exclusively is because nobody's found out how to run a sunbeam through a meter, right?

The telcos are scared that this will make them obsolete, so they HAVE to find a way to make a buck off this.

Let the market rule (4, Insightful)

mikeymckay (138669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611382)

Allow VOIP to be unregulated (you can't really stop this anyway). If it causes the phone companies to start losing money then they raise prices to compensate, and our home phone lines cost more.

I don't know where most of the revenue stream for telcos comes from, but if it is from long distance phone calls - then they need a new business plan. Those days are over. If they are spending too much money to keep the internet working then they need to raise prices on access to the internet lines and the price will rise at our ISPs.

I think the real problem is the stupid white men are seeing their business replaced by better technology and they are crying to Sugar Daddy Bush to help them out. New technology almost always means business die.

RIP phone companies.

Missing the point (1)

Marxist Commentary (461279) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611455)

The point is not the revenue for the companies, it's revenue for the government. It simply isn't fair that the telephone companies are regulated, and so pay (albeit minimal) tax while the VOIP companies are not. Both providers should be heaviliy taxed, regardless of the money in hand for the corporations and their shareholders.

Re:Missing the point (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611610)

Exactly what planet are you from anyway? This is not a philosophical question, it is reality. The idea is for all people to have less taxes and more money to spend in the open market. Did someone give you that computer that you are using or did you have to pay for it like the rest of the world?

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611633)

Leave it to a Marxist to try to inject "fairness" into the equation.

As has been stated elsewhere (In this thread, among other places...), traditional Telcos fall under regulations because they are monopolies. The government has authorized them as an exclusive providor of service, and in return, they are taxed, and must provide certain service garantees.

To a reasonable person, this is easy to understand.

Our gov should not be taxing free speech. (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611411)

Tax something else like air or water.

But not speech. It's protected.

A bit is a bit is a bit (2, Interesting)

evilned (146392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611418)

When will the FCC wake up and realize this simple idea. A bit flowing around the internet is the same thing whether it is part of a webpage, streaming video, or VoIP. Wanna clean stuff up? Clear out all the rules and make the regulations standard regardless of the type of data being delivered.

Idiot (0, Flamebait)

Matt - Duke '05 (321176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611419)

If you're deadset on making yourself look like an idiot by quoting Eminem on a Slashdot story, at least get the lyrics correct. The proper wording word be:

The FCC won't let [VoIP] be, or let [VoIP] be [VoIP].

Given this, the quote has absolutely no relation whatsoever to the topic at hand and you sound like a jackass. So, why'd you quote Eminem again?

Pot Kettle (1)

JKR (198165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611461)

"So the FCC won't let me be or let me be me, so let me see." is the ACTUAL lyric in question, but never mind... ;)

Regulators irrelevant (5, Insightful)

nv5 (697631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611432)

Once you have any data stream over IP, it is pretty difficult to regulate, since it can be disguised on varying port numbers, encryption (which is probably a good idea anyway) and other techniques. Regulation tends to work on the big conglomerates, since they operate so much in public. A homespun underground cottage industry movement is very difficult to control (see P2P). Therefore I find the discussions about regulating VoIP rather irrelevant.

Fussing And Farting..Sheesh (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611443)

Look, at the end of the day it's all the same anyway.. If you've got something they want, you can tell them what to do.

So don't be surprised they're making you and I fall in line. If you were smart, you'd be doing exactly the same.

POTS/PSTN Defined (5, Informative)

romper (47937) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611487)

For non-telco-speaking Slashdotters..

POTS = Plain Old Telephone System
PSTN = Public Switched Telephone Network

One thing annoys me... (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611508)

All this talk about bridging VoIP with the phone system. I dan't care about the problems with that, I don't want to do it, I have no interest in it, and if somehow telemarketers start hitting me up on VoIP over it, I'm gunna go Bun Bun on them [] .

Eminem has shown that the FCC has a funky name (2, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611515)

Soon they will realise that voip is just another part of the internet and that they should have been regulating the whole internet all this time, then they will realise that actually the internet is just another form of human communication and thus speech and writing should be regulated. I propose a pen ownership license, and law enforcement needs to be aware that people might try and use their own blood as ink for lack of a pen. Also we need to divide up the audible sound spectrum and sell it off to the highest bidder, er humans can speak on 200 to 400Hz aslong as they own a general oparating license, dog whistles are classed as a low-power consumer transmitter.

The progression is inevitable (2, Insightful)

ratpick (649064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611529)

We've gone from a nation of individualists to a nation of selfish individuals, all crying "Me! Me! Me!" to a government composed primarily of short-sighted, ignorant persons concerned only with placating the short-sighted, ignorant masses.

Our government has, therefore, become adept at siphoning money from us all in a manner that is least likely to attract negative attention (think payroll taxes). We all know the real purpose of VoIP "regulation" is to protect an outdated telecom business model and the tax revenue it generates, but until we are all willing to make some sacrifices, the downward spiral will continue.

Yeah I can see the dilemma... (1)

WarDancer (542700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611530)

They're hesitating between:
  1. Providing a cheaper service to the users.
  2. Make higher profits to screw consumers more.
I'm betting on #2 tactical donations.

Voip! Voip! (4, Interesting)

madro (221107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611553)

[excerpted from today's Wall Street Journal, which has even more access restrictions than the New York Times. Paul Kedrosky, the author of the commentary, teaches business at the University of California, San Diego.]

Incumbent telecoms are tying themselves in knots over all this. They generally think that the current wave of upstart VOIP providers are getting a free ride given that they currently don't pay the same regulator-decreed access fees and subsidies. But incumbents are also smart enough to implicitly threaten to cut and run to VOIP themselves if the FCC gives competitors free rein in profitable voice markets.

But providers of VOIP service are only slightly less cynical. While they are getting scads of fawning press now, it is hard to imagine a future that includes most of them. Because six years or so from now we will almost certainly be calling from dedicated voice devices that plug directly into your high-speed Internet connection. You are no more likely to be billed for future phone calls than you are for current e-mails.

Call it the Napsterization of the phone business, where paying VOIP companies $35 a month for the privilege of connecting you via the Internet with the spendthrift sorts on the old telecommunications network will seem silly and unnecessary. The smartest thing most VOIP vendors could do now is quickly exploit VOIP-phoria to go public or get bought. Wait, that's what they are doing.

There is work left for regulators, like ironing out 911 and 411 access, as well as how law enforcement will tap Internet phone calls. But 911 issues didn't stop cell phones, and the arrival of e-mail that police could no longer steam open rightly didn't cause e-mail to be outlawed.

VOIP won't drastically affect POTS (3, Interesting)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611568)

Yes, I've said it, and here's my reasoning.

Consider what you need to do in order to get an analogue voice line: you call the phone company, answer a few questions, wait a short period of time (usually a few hours), and plug in the phone. Bang, you have a phone number and can call your mom. Ludicrously simple, and you don't need a child of five to do this.

(Yes, that's right, the old WC Fields axiom has been reversed - the more complex stuff amongst people who can't figure it out are best left to five year old children.)

Now what do you need for a VoIP line? A broadband TCP/IP connection. On a DSL this is redundant, so the cable companies are left with that option - and unless you are just wanting to blow money (or you really need reliability or uber speed), you probably don't have a T1 or better in the home. More or less simple (a quick rewire of your cabling), turn it on, bang, you have a phone and, again, can call mom.

But wait a moment. What of the twelve-o'clock flashers? You know, the people whose VCRs and similar persistently flash 12:00 because they don't know how to set them, or the people who need the tech support guy to tell them how to turn the computer on. These are people who don't understand the concept of RTFM, so they can't be bothered with how to pull a plug out of one hole and put it in another hole for fear of doing irreversable damage. Yes, you need a child for these people, but these people trust their own children even less with technology. Dead end.

The point of this is that, unless the telephone companies make radical changes in their hardware, VoIP will probably only have a small niche market amongst people who can figure out how to wire their own stereo, which (and this is strictly theory) seems to be the vast minority on the 'net - and then again, many of these people are probably not even *on* the 'net to begin with, thus excluding them from VoIP entirely. But they'll probably ask anyway.

Re:VOIP won't drastically affect POTS (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611649)

Except that I have this really cool USB device.

It plugs into your USB port, you insert the CD, plug in a handset (complete with dial) into the device, and away you go.

Like digital cameras have become....

(Hey, if this is new, then I claim patent rights....)

Infrastructure? (1)

hayh (706697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611581)

I think the main reason VoIP isn't going to take over global telecom is the fact that in many places the infrastructure is lacking. In the Caribbean -for example-, a lot of people still prefer pots because voip on dialup results in... well, crap.

Disclaimer: No, I actually have not rtfa.

Other quoes by your "great philosopher" (0, Troll)

dananderson (1880) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611611)

You think Eminem is a great philosopher huh? Well, lets quote the great one:
  • "You faggots keep eggin' me on / 'til I have you at knifepoint, then you beg me to stop?"
  • "Never date a black girl because blacks only want your money"
  • "Black girls and white girls just don't mix because black girls are dumb and white girls are good chicks."

Tunneling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7611624)

1. Tunnel VOIP over an SSH connection.
2. Call it VOIPOSSH.
3. Or SVOIP.
5. Submit article to slashdot.
6. ???
7. Profit!

Internet is erasing the middleman company (1)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611653)

The internet has already started to show it's power to fundamentally change everything that has to do with our society. All the media middlemen will vanish now when we all have direct connect possibilites with each other. The Record Companies will die since iTunes Music Store's don't really give them an job to do at all -- all you need is a computer and you can buy music out of the box. That we're losing another middleman here, the telephone company, is nothing suprising since communicating through the computer is just another form of media.

IP v.6 (1)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 10 years ago | (#7611661)

If ever there was a technology begging for IP v.6 it's VOIP. We supposedly have an impending shortage of IPv4 addresses. Seems like a logical solution considering the infancy of this technology.
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