Russian Govt Moves to Outlaw 2000 VoIP Operators

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Russian Govt Moves to Outlaw 2000 VoIP Operators

Very interesting article about the potential for Russia to outlaw 2000 VoIP operators.

Here's a teaser, then go read the full article...
It's hardly surprising that Russians, businesses and individuals alike, spend billions of rubles annually on VoIP services, instead of using overpriced and obsolete national and international connections, offered by old-fashioned telecom mammoths.

So far those mammoths have been quietly ignoring the trend, but lately their attention had been drawn to the phenomenon, and their first reaction was to outlaw the local VoIP market outright, pulling the usual strings of state bureaucracy. The industry made a faint attempt at striking back, sending an open letter to President Putin. Sergei Rublev of the Moscow-based Lenta.Ru information agency reports on the latest developments:

Russian economists estimate the current turnover of the Russian VoiP services market at $300 million per annum. At the moment there are different firms working in the area: VoIP departments at huge telecom companies alongside smaller local providers. The recent conclusion reached by analysts is that bigger operators like Rostelecom or MGTS (the Moscow City Telephone Network that also entered the VoIP market last December) are trying to get rid of the smaller operators by means of administrative resources, or connections.

Representatives of VoIP-providing companies believe that the commercial abuse of administrative resources is obvious from a recent government resolution, dated March 28, 2005 that brought into effect an order from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications on electricity networks. The experts say that by setting unachievable liabilities and limitations the document actually prohibits the provision of VoIP services.

The problem was widely discussed by more than 700 participants of the annual Russian Internet Forum that took place near Moscow on March 23-24. In accordance with the traditions of a democratic society, the representatives of the VoIP-providing companies present at the Forum decided to ask for President Putin's help, and sent him an open letter dated March 31. The letter said...Continued

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