Liability Issues In A VOIP Environment
by Colleen Boothby
Published February 2005; Posted July 2005




Voice over IP (VOIP) applications for enterprise customer networks have significant advantages in terms of features and functions, as well as attractive cost characteristics, which will continue to drive enterprise customer networks to VOIP for the next several years, despite some lingering regulatory uncertainty about how VOIP “fits” into the world of traditional telecommunications services.


Much of the controversy over VOIP has centered on relatively obscure issues—whether VOIP should be classified as a regulated “telecommunications service” or an unregulated “information service”; whether it can be regulated by the state public utility commissions or only by the FCC; whether the service will be accepted in other countries so that it can be used economically for international traffic; whether it is subject to the same state and federal taxes that apply to traditional communications services; and whether VOIP providers will be required to pay state and federal universal service fees and access charges, which could raise the cost of providing, and thus the price for using, the service.


But VOIP technologies also introduce some very practical legal issues that enterprise customers should keep in mind as they deploy the technology, to reduce the risk of unpleasant financial surprises down the line. This article looks at the potential areas of liability surrounding:



911 Calls


E-911 (Enhanced 911)


CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act)


About the author:

Colleen Boothby is a partner at Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby, LLP. The firm represents enterprise customers in the acquisition of telecommunications and technology products, in the resolution of disputes with providers, and on regulatory and public policy matters before the FCC and the federal courts.



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