Victims of Military abductions surfaced due to Writ of Amparo
Full text of the writ of Amparo can be found here

Printed copies available, email rbahaguejr [at] gmail [dot] com

Saturday, November 13, 2004

VOIP for the People

Below is a full qoute, from another mailing list, of a simple explanation on what should be the NTC's decision on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)


Technology vs Law

The FX case is just one in which technology already has advanced to a level that makes the current law outdated. Another case that is being debated is the use of VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol which is simply using a computer to make voice calls. It is much cheaper than calling long distance. The technology has developed to a level in which the quality is almost the same as the ordinary long distance call.

Some internet cafes have a mike and head phone plugged in which enable customers to call their friends abroad at no extra fee. Since the internet fee is only P20/hour (at least in the Philcoa area) that means that you can talk to your relatives abroad for one hour and pay only P20. With PLDT long distance you pay hundreds of pesos. I have used that myself, via SKYPE, and find the quality not quite different from the normal PLDT long distance. That is because internet cafes are on DSL.

With a technology available that will allow people to call long distance at a much cheaper price, you would imagine that everybody will be jumping with joy..

But there are killjoys and kontrabidas. PLDT, Globe, and other telcos want the government to disallow voice calls via Internet by non-telecom companies on the ground that VOIP is a basic telecommunications service and not a value-added service and should therefore be regulated, therefore only authorized telcom like themselves should be allowed to offer the service..

They warn against the impending demise of the landline business in the country as they assailed government plans to allow non-telcos to continue transmitting voice calls via the internet unregulated, a practice that they claim has resulted in billions of pesos in losses to duly-authorized telecom companies. Flashback to the last century and you can imagine the gas company maintaining the gas lamps in the parks complaining vs Edison and company for the invention of the electric bulbs which made their gas lamps obsolete.

While they are debating the matter, in the office I regularly visit they use the computer, not the
landline, to call long distance to associates abroad. I am sure smart employees in other offices do the same. I know of an NGO which offers the VOIP at token fees (just to recover cost of operation) to their clientele who have relatives abroad.

Can the telcos and government stop the people from using the technology to their advantage? Is there any sense in trying to prevent people from making science and technology work for them?

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