Internet Telephony Industry Launches Representative Body
London, 23rd March 2004: A group of 13 UK companies, ranging in size from established Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and existing telecoms companies to new market entrants, today announced the launch of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association or ITSPA.
Internet Telephony is the ability to make voice calls over any Internet connection, particularly broadband, using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Internet Telephony Service Providers can provide regular and enhanced phone line services, at reduced cost, with calls to other Internet phones often free of charge.
Although Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has existed as a technology for much of the last ten years, the mass market for broadband connections and the emergence of new telephony-enabling protocols such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), have revolutionised the sector. Microsoft, Cisco and many leading technology companies have now built SIP into their latest products. Indeed, any Windows XP computer can place Internet Telephony calls ‘out of the box’.
There are already more than six million people worldwide benefiting from making voice calls over their Internet connection, primarily in Japan and the USA. The UK market is now poised to similarly take off.
There is a rapidly expanding community of Internet Telephony Service Providers (or ITSP’s) in the UK who already offer consumers and businesses the ability to make calls over the Internet. Given the many regulatory issues involved, these companies have realized that there is an urgent need for a trade association to help promote and represent the interests of the industry.
The ITSPA has therefore been set up to act as the representative voice of the industry to UK Government bodies such as the DTI, The Home Office and Ofcom, as well as to the European Commission and other regulators. The association will also encourage the innovation and development of the Internet Telephony industry through the promotion of self-regulation and competition.
“Internet Telephony providers now offer a serious alternative to the existing telephone companies, and we need to look at the levels of regulation and encouragement that this industry needs.” explains Kim Thesiger, spokesman for the ITSPA. “This technology will revolutionise the way in which consumers and businesses make voice calls over the next few years ushering in far cheaper prices for phone calls and offering a wealth of new products and services that were only available to the biggest corporations until now.”
Eli Katz, a co-founder of ITSPA, comments, “Internet Telephony is the next generation of Multi-Media and Telephony Services. The speed, flexibility and rich capabilities of the Internet, married with the global pervasiveness of the phone network, will transform the way we communicate. New Features such as international roaming of your own phone number, CD audio quality, integrated video calls and the holy grail of mobile and home/office phone convergence will become commonplace.”
The UK Government is keen to encourage innovation, investment and competition in the electronic communications market and given the significant importance of Internet Telephony, and its impact on the UK Telecoms landscape, the ITSPA looks forward to working closely with Ofcom and other regulators to ensure that the correct balance is achieved between encouraging this new sector whilst making sure consumers are properly protected.
Founding ITSPA members are:
Call UK http://www.calluk.com/
ET Phones http://www.etphones.net/
Gradwell dot com http://www.gradwell.com/
Imass Telecom http://www.imasstelecom.com/
Mistral Internet http://www.mistral.net/
Telco Global http://www.telcoglobal.com/
Notes to Editors:
What is Internet telephony?
Internet Telephony links the Internet technology with the global telephone network. A regular telephone line service can now be provided through any Internet connection but particularly over Broadband, providing the full range of features and services similar to a regular telephone line from your local provider. This will provide the basis for a whole range of new multi-media services and features not available on the current telephone network. In addition to the cost savings and lower tariffs, many companies may choose to offer free calls to select other Internet Phones.
The ITSPA can be contacted by telephoning
Kim Thesiger on +44 (0)7768 912063 or Eli Katz on +44 (0)7973 632364
email email@example.com or make a free SIP call to sip:
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