Wednesday, May 11, 2005

VOIP Regulation in Canada: 32 Hours to Go

Mark Evans


Can you feel the excitement?! Only 32 hours before the CRTC decides whether it's going to regulate Internet telephony. Judging by recent analyst reports and news stories, regulating ILECs such as Bell and Telus could destroy their local phone businesses, while making them uncompetitive in the fast-emerging Internet telephony market. It's all a bit dramatic. It's not like Bell and Telus will be unable to offer Internet telephony. It's not like they won't be able to use their strong brands, customer relationships, and ability to offer multi-service bundles to attract deal-hungry customers. It's not like millions of consumers are going to suddenly jump on the Internet telephony bandwagon and jump on the cable/Vonage/Primus/AOL bandwagon. For all the hype about VOIP and Vonage's aggressive and enthusiastic marketing efforts, Internet telephony adoption is still fairly small. If the CRTC decides to regulate the Internet telephony market, it will hobble the ILECs, not kill them. That's a key difference many people have failed to grasp.

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