8x8s Martin: With Technology Developing Rapidly, Time to Tackle Regulation

Internet telephony providers are doing a great job of injecting competition into a consolidating phone industry, said 8×8 Chairman and CEO Bryan Martin during a keynote speech at the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo on Wednesday. The ever-re-forming Ma Bell continues to lose access line subscribers to VoIP and wireless services, he said, citing a document AT&T filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last November.

These phone companies arent merging out of long-term strength, he said. I think its out of weakness.

He also said Internet telephony will continue to take hold with consumers and businesses as providers offer content, rather than just faster speeds. Communications and entertainment will be the two aspects of content that drive mass broadband adoption, he said.

With the technology side nailed, Martin said it is time for providers to focus on the effects of state and federal regulation on VoIP. The FCC already has mandated that VoIP comply with E911 and CALEA standards, and that service providers contribute to the Universal Service Fund. Martin denounced the decisions because the laws merely re-interpret old rules without considering the consequences.

Regulators and legislators are going to have a tremendous role in how quickly these technologies get into your hands, Im sad to say, Martin said.

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