The Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) will host a forum this month addressing self-regulatory issues for VoIP as a consumer technology.
The industry appointed body has invited a broad cross section of interested parties to attend. These include traditional carriers and service providers as well as vendors, systems integrators, government agencies and consumer groups.
The forum will include presentations on specific issues such as numbering, quality of service and customer service guarantees. It will also address industry cooperation initiatives, consumer education and potential solutions to issues that are raised in discussions.
ACIF CEO, Anne Hurley, called for all providers to play an active part in the debate because VoIP had the potential to change the way we all communicate in the future.
With that in mind, it was essential to get the regulatory framework in place and get stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead, she said.
"For example, consumers have an expectation with standard telephony systems that they will be able to make an emergency call and the operator will immediately be able to identify the call location," Hurley said. "This is not the case with VoIP but that isn't any different to an emergency call placed on a mobile phone so is it really such a big issue?
"Quality of service is another issue but this can again be compared to mobile telephony. Technology will resolve the issue and, to a large extent, it is a matter of educating consumers."
Hurley is particularly keen for new VoIP providers that have not previously been involved with ACIF processes to attend the forum, meet other players and take an active part in the discussions.
"They need to buy into it and be a part of it," she said. "Carriers need to work with the new generation of service providers and we want to start a dialogue so that everybody can understand what the issues are and what we can do to resolve them."
ACIF will host the VoIP forum in Sydney on December 13, with Hurley predicting this would be the first of several such events. Any organisation that is interested in taking part in the forum but has not yet been invited should visit www.acif.org.au.