Big Island, HI, USA
Jan. 6, 2003 to Jan. 9, 2003
Douglas C. Sicker , University of Colorado at Boulder
Traditionally, specific telecommunications services were essentially confined to certain types of networks; e.g., television over broadcast networks or cable and voice service over wireline or wireless networks. Regulations were built around the underlying infrastructure. The regulations imposed on these providers were as stratified as the networks and the services they carried. Convergence of services onto non-traditional platforms creates a dilemma where the rules no longer conform to the infrastructure. This creates inconsistencies and gives rise to problems such as: market, investment, and interconnection distortions, as well as universal service, accessibility (for the disabled) and public safety concerns.<div></div> One of the most relevant of these services is voice, specifically voice over the internet protocols. While several authors have suggested alternative regulatory models to deal with these changes, these models tend to ignore important aspects of market power, network design and technology evolution. One proposed solution to this problem is based on a layered model similar to that used in the development of technical communications protocols. The consistency and modularity of such an approach may be a workable alternative to the current title-based policy. However, a layered model in and of itself is insufficient. A layered model solution must reflect the reality of network design and business arrangements, and, to be viable, it requires a transition policy to get there from the existing policy regime. Emerging policy must address the diversity of existing access technologies (e.g., cable networks versus common carrier wireline networks), the disparity within industry segments (e.g., ILEC vs. CLEC use of last mile) and the strong influence of present policy on these various segments when implementing a transition to new policy. It is important to realize that interconnection will remain at the core of any competitive telecommunications policy. There is always some physical or logical interconnection that must be resolved and this involves pricing. Without the correct incentives or obligations in place, providers will not be motivated to interconnect.<div></div> The theory behind our model is to separate policy issues along what we see as logical boundaries; ones that make sense in terms of such issues as cost, technology and network design. The method we apply is simply to consider the problems of the existing policy and show how a layered model might be used to resolve them. As we move toward more fully converged networks, we will need to understand how best to revise policy. A general direction should be to simplify the rules and to minimize regulation where necessary. We believe that a layered model could provide this simplification.<div></div> In previous work, the author described the general notion of a layered model for telecommunications policy. In this paper, we examine the application of this model for voice over internet protocols. We begin by describing the existing policy environment. Next, we rationalize why a layered model makes sense in a converged environment. We then consider the transition into such a model and a number of associated issues. Finally, we apply this layered model to a few vexing policy problems. Specifically, we look at how a layered model allows us to frame the issue of Voice over IP and the closely related issue of Universal Service in a consistent and logical manner.
Douglas C. Sicker, "Applying a Layered Policy Model to IP Based Voice Services", HICSS, 2003, 36th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, 36th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences 2003, pp. 151, doi:10.1109/HICSS.2003.1174335