Following the transposition of the new EU regulatory framework for electronic communications into UK law (Communications Act 2003), Oftel has updated its Frequently Asked Questions note on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Nevertheless, this set of updated guidance notes makes it quite clear that Oftel distinguishes two types of VoIP service providers:
- Service providers that meet the definition of "FPATS" (fixed publicly accessible telephone services), i.e. providers of services which are (and/or which are marketed as) substitutable to traditional voice telephony, and which are subject to the entire range of regulatory obligations (incl. access to emergency and directory enquiry services, quality of service requirements, etc.)
- Service providers which explicitly position their services as an accessory to traditional telephone services, which are subject to a much lesser degree of regulation.
Oftel's statement also reveals that it is still struggling with issues relating to numbering for VoIP services. One salient proposal is to use the 05 numbering range for dedicated VoIP service numbers. For more information, or a discussion, please contact Yves Blondeel.