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Sunday, May 27, 2007

If you call a phone a "computer", do you regulate differently?

I was just reading through some document about VoIP regulation, and noticed that in some countries like Canada, the regulators make a distinction between ordinary telephony and "computer to computer" Internet telephony:

"The CRTC will not be regulating private computer -to-computer voice services over the Internet or peer-to-peer (P2P) as these do not connect to the public telephone network which is consistent with previous CRTC decisions not to regulate retail Internet services"

So, if we take Nokia's current N-series branding at face value and refer to an advanced mobile device as a "multimedia computer", this presumably has some interesting implications for regulation of mobile VoIP.....


Aswath said...

Not really. In my reading, the operating constraint is not the device (whether it is "phone" or computer"), but whether the call touches PSTN or not. For instance US and Indian regulations (the two countries that I follow) also use similar wording with similar interpretation.

Bruce said...

Aswath is correct. The device is irrelevant as the definition only applies to the service -- and only regulates services that interconnect with the PSTN. In addition, in the CRTC's case, it really only applies if the service interconnects with the PSTN in Canada, which generally means those that want to offer a Canadian DID.