VoIP Charges are a case of ‘tail wagging dog’

The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) in America is letting the tail wag the dog, according to search giant Google.

Proposed plans to charge Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on a per minute basis in the same way as regular telephony could be a huge blow to the industry says Google.

The have accused the USA telecoms regulator of trying to stifle what is a rapidly expanding industry with possible call termination charges.

Currently one of the factors which makes VoIP so appealing is that information can be routed over the internet free of charge (once the internet subscription has been set up).

Up until now an ESP exemption has meant that VoIP traffic is free of charge. While telecommunications companies have railed against this disadvantage, VoIP providers have claimed that information, and this is basically what is being sent over the VoIP lines, should be free on the internet.

The Google lawyer Donna N. Lampert wrote to the FCC to persuade them to see the bigger picture – VoIP traffic is a very small part of the overall IP traffic which Google deals with.

Yet VoIP services like Skype have long been trying to monetise what is essentially a free service. Although Skype has millions of users only a small fraction of them are paying subscribers.

The Google figures show that VoIP calls now account for 21,000 terabytes a month compared to the 36,000 terabytes used for conventional calls.

Regular telephone traffic is certainly declining and it is clear that there will have to be a shift in the way it is administered as a result.

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