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Ofcom to implement VoIP code

Antony Savvas

Ofcom has announced a new regulatory code for voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers, that will ensure that consumers have access to important information about the capabilities of their service.

All VoIP providers will be required to comply with the code from this June. VoIP services offer consumers free or cheaper calls and new services such as call handling and unified messaging.

Industry forecasts predict that there could be as many as three million VoIP users in the UK by the end of this year.

Following a public consultation last year, Ofcom has decided to put in place measures to ensure that consumers have access to information which helps them make informed VoIP purchasing decisions.

The new code of practice requires VoIP providers to make clear whether or not their service includes access to emergency services (some don’t); the extent to which the service depends on the user's home power supply; and whether directory assistance, directory listings, access to the operator or the itemisation of calls are available.

In addition, VoIP providers will also have to say whether consumers will be able to keep their telephone number if they choose to switch providers at a later date.

If consumers choose to take up a service that does not offer access to emergency services, the code also requires VoIP providers to secure the customer's positive acknowledgement of this at point of sale (like ticking a box, for instance).

The full VoIP code can be found at:

www.ofcom.org.uk

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