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
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 10 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 6 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
"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
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/
The full press release is here