Business ofcom online safety Regs voip

Sat in an ITSPA council meeting discussing strategy.

Many of you will perhaps not have heard of the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association. It is one of hundreds of industry trade associations serving their stakeholders in the UK. ITSPA was formed about 6 years ago at the “dawn of the hosted VoIP industry in this country”.

In its early days ITSPA was involved in the formation of codes of practice – working with Ofcom to define how an internet telephony provider should behave/operate. Things then went quiet for a while though the organisation has top notch networking events where executives get the opportunities to meet other people in the game to catch up on issues (and gossip).

Over the past 12 months industry affecting issues have started to come out of the woodwork. As the industry is still very much evolving/maturing these issues are often hangovers from the old telephony world that are stifling the growth and innovation prospects of the new world1.

For example the porting of telephone numbers uses manual processes reminiscent of the stone age. There is a real reluctance by those responsible to change – you know who you are – get with it – bear skins went out of fashion thousands of years ago. It can take months to port a number. This is not right.

Ditto the fact that you can’t move your phone number to VoIP if the line also carries your broadband. If you try your underlying analogue phone line will get cut off and you then need to reprovision a new phone line which takes time and during which time you won’t have broadband.

NetNeturality also features in the ITSPA world far more so than for ISPs generally. This is because some mobile operators block VoIP. Arguments over capacity don’t wear as far as I’m concerned.

VoIP security is another issue. The same issues affect VoIP systems as used to affect good old fashioned PBXs. Crooks hacking in to your system to make their own phone calls charged to your account for example. ITSPA has a working group that jumps on new VoIP security issues and regularly distributes information/data to members.

These re all issues that affect the development and growth of a new industry. If you are an ITSP and not a member of ITSPA you should think about getting involved. Ditto vendors of VoIP kit. If all you get out of it is the opportunity to meet service providers that in itself makes it all worthwhile.

Right, back to the meeting. You heard it first on…

1 bit flowery I know 🙂

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

One reply on “Sat in an ITSPA council meeting discussing strategy.”

I really agree about the security aspect.

Securing things properly is hard. Also many providers don’t do enough anti fraud.

And many vendors let basic security issues through into finished product.


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