An article in The Guardian has reported that the European Commission and regulators have called for mobile and landline internet providers that restrict the smooth functioning of VoIP services to be penalised

A report by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) association, VON Europe, has found that while the Vodafone Group restricts access to internet phone calls on pay-as-you-go deals, some mobile providers do not allow access to the benefits and flexibility that VoIP offers at all. These include France Telecom’s Orange, Bouygues, Germany’s E-Plus and Dutch provider KPN.

The Guardian pinpointed French operator SFR as an example; they sell internet packages for Apple’s iPad which specifically ban the use of internet telephony, while still calling it an “unlimited” option. In comparison, Three UK and O2 are the only British providers who allow access to VoIPservices through the popular tablet.

The report notes:

ISPs do have incentives to discriminate between players operating at the application and content layers. Internet service providers can act as monopolists by shaping traffic in a way that departs from the application providers’, content/service providers’ or users’ interests.

Communication is the lifeblood of all relationships; whether a business relationship or one between friends. Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of the Internet is that it leveled the field – where anyone, regardless of their circumstances could access information and communicate. Of course, it is sometimes a necessity to control access – such as parental controls on a child’s computer. However, broadly speaking, restricting access, and therefore the ability to choose, is anti-competitive. Closed markets serve few, and we’re in danger of slipping backwards – both socially and economically.

As a VoIP provider we welcome this news from the EU, especially as smartphone apps such as the Android csipsimple, allows users to make the most of VoIP services on their mobile phones, if their mobile carrier supports it.

(Image by Rock Cohen)


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