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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

VOIP technology for the people

VOIP technology should serve the interest of the Filipino people.
Press Statement
2 February 2004
Computer Professionals' Union

An overseas Filipino worker would always spend hundreds of pesos just to get in touch with his or her family. International long distance telephone communication rates have hindered a supposed regular communication and have a significant share on their earnings. National long distance communications suffers the same high rates imposed by big monopoly public telephone entities. Thus, any form of reduction in rates would greatly benefit the millions of OFWs and their families and local telephone users.

The current rapid development in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology is paving a new way to communicate, that is to deliver voice calls. The National Telecommunications Discussion Paper on VOIP defines VoIP as "all types of voice communication using Internet Protocol." This technology converts telephone calls or voice signals into digital signals that travels in the internet. In common terms, it is similar to browsing the internet since voice conversion is done on the users' computer with no added work for the service provider.

The same Discussion Paper has rightly pointed the benefits of VoIP technology. The most relevant for non-technical people is the significant lower cost of voice calls and its higher reliability.
International voice calls through VoIP bypasses international gateway facilities of monopoly public telephone entities which charge higher fees when used. Low chance of being disconnected during calls is also offered by VoIP technology.

The lack of regulations addressing VoIP technology caught NTC reconciling between profit-driven interests of monopoly public telephone entities and value added service providers. It has again becoming futile in its regulation efforts, like it is now, when it comes to regulating monopoly public telephone entities engaged in mobile communication services and protecting consumers from imposed high service fees.

In fact, monopoly public telephone entities are already using VoIP technology to lower production cost but still charges the same high rates for voice calls.

The Computer Professionals' Union stands that Voice over Internet Protocol should be available for use and deployment by the FILIPINO PEOPLE. Technically, VoIP deployment has become more affordable with the parallel development in Free and Open Source software and tools. Classifying it as a capital-intensive venture, thereby limiting it to businesses is depriving the Filipino people of a much cheaper technology.

Any legislation and regulation on VoIP should primarily consider the interest of the Filipino people for cheaper and accessible communications technology. The Filipino people should be the primary beneficiary of any advances in Information and Communications technology and not businesses driven not by the desire for public service but profits. ##

Reference Person:

Mr. Emil Cinco -T / 7008818,
Computer Professionals' Union

1. A Discussion Paper on Voice over Internet Protocol, National Telecommunications Commission, 23 July 2004.
2. This statement is released on the Congress Committee hearing on VoIP Bills, 2 February 2004.

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