Communications watchdog Ofcom is to overhaul the regulations covering VoIP services after huge growth in the sector.
Ofcom published interim guidance on VoIP services in 2004, but since then the choice of providers and the range of services offered has increased, while equipment has also developed significantly. There are now an estimated 500,000 VoIP users in the UK.
The regulator has published proposals for a new approach, including a code to ensure service providers give their customers information about service capability.
It will outline how Ofcom will investigate breaches of providers’ obligations on network reliability and emergency calls, and will increase the incentive for VoIP services to offer 999 access.
Ofcom is promising a “planned approach” to reviewing the regulations to take into account future market and technology development.
Consultation on the proposals closes on 3 May 2006, with a statement of the results expected in August.