[WSIS CS-Plenary] Governance? Liberalization and VoIP
webmaster at nilebasin.com
Mon Aug 2 12:46:05 BST 2004
I would like to know if there is a committee involved in the issues of new
and emerging technologies in ICT that have a huge impact on communications
and is usually 'controlled/resisted' by developing countries to protect
the high tariffs charged for 'traditional' line telephony.
Even here in Canada for example, the provision of VoIP has just begun.
Personally, I found it a much better alternative than using the services
of the local telephone companies. For the monthly charges paid for a
regular telephone line (we had two; one for telephony and one for fax), we
now have 2 VoIP lines with full features (and even newer ones) with free
calling in all Canada and the USA. The international rates are much
cheaper than even using pre-paid telephone cards. (see for example
The reason I am writing this is an article in Balancing Act's News Update
218 (1 August 2004) - to subscribe or unsubscribe send an e-mail to
info at balancingact-africa.com - entitled "VOIP TELEPHONY WILL BE LEGALISED
FIRST IN WEST AFRICA, SAYS NEW REPORT".
The article mentions that "According to one of the report¹s author¹s
Russell Southwood:²Grey markets in international VoIP calling have grown
up almost everywhere in Africa because of the large difference between the
price charged to the African customer by monopoly incumbent telephone
companies and the much cheaper cost at which they buy that call on the
international market. Grey market operators like ISPs and cyber-cafes can
offer the calls more cheaply and still make a profit.²
The legalization of VoIP will change the structure of both the internet
and telecoms industries and the report looks at how this might occur and
the type of new operators that will emerge, offering VoIP calling both
domestically and internationally."
There are some more interesting information about this subject as it
concerns West African countries, but lessons/positions should be taken on
this important issue by the NGOs involved in the WSIS. I have made the
article available here: http://nilebasin.com/home/documents/VoIP.doc
Nile Basin Society
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"If the people will lead, the leaders will follow." Dr. David Suzuki
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