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#213223 - 06/22/06 02:05 PM VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Caye Connect Offline
I received a call from the PUC today asking me to confirm my email address so that next week they can send me a PUC announcement regarding VoIP. The kind lady was reluctant to divulge any more information, but she did say she was making many calls to get email addresses of the attendees of the 4/26 forum.

#213224 - 06/23/06 04:23 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Caye Connect Offline
The news came early. Click on this link and download the 3 documents the PUC released today.


#213225 - 06/23/06 04:38 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Caye Connect Offline
"The following classifications are based on the assessment of the current situation in Belize, the review of several ITU studies, and observations of the regulatory treatment of VoIP communications in other countries.

Category 1: VoIP offerings where there is no provision of service; i.e. the VoIP communication is self provided such as a software program downloaded to run on a personal computer. The VoIP communication uses the intrinsic capabilities of the public internet, i.e. it resides solely on the internet, and the user is not publicly available by means of an assigned unique telephone number

For example, a customer of a licensed internet service provider in Belize accesses a website on the internet and downloads a VoIP software programme, usually provided free of cost, onto his/her personal computer. This software programme enables the personal computer user to engage in VoIP communication. In this category, the personal computer user is not publicly available since the user does not have a unique telephone number that opens contact with the public at large. Category 1 VoIP communications does not require licensing.

Category 2: VoIP communication by users who have no specific public obligations such as corporate private networks (where VoIP is used to provide communications inside companies) and IP technologies used within a public telecommunication service provider’s core network, but which do not impinge on the retail services offered to the end-user. Category 2 VoIP communications requires licensing and the equipment used to enable the use of VoIP requires type approval.

Category 3: VoIP communication which is publicly available through a telecommunication service being provided to the end user by a service provider using VoIP technology. This VoIP enabled telecommunication service is a service available to the public (where there is access to and/or from the PSTN) for originating and receiving national and international calls through an assigned number or numbers. Category 3 VoIP communications requires licensing.

Category 3 services are further divided into two sub-classifications: (1) services marketed as secondary line services and, (2) services marketed as replacements for the traditional PSTN based call services. License obligations in reference to provision of emergency calling service, universal access, etc. may differ between the sub-classifications. Category 3(1) service providers are required to inform their customers about the limitations of their service. "

#213226 - 06/23/06 05:11 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Katie Valk Offline
Which means, Skype is okay. Anyone know where I can buy a headset? BTL is now reqired to 'unblock' Sykpe, is it working yet? If not call PUC 227 1176 and let them know.
Belize based travel specialist

#213227 - 06/23/06 06:01 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
scubawalk Offline
June 23 at 5:00 PM SKYPE is NOT working at all.
"Just another Day in Paradise"

#213228 - 06/23/06 06:12 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
scubawalk Offline
SKYPE to SKYPE (computer to computer) calls are allowed. SKYPE to land line calls appear to be not allowed by my reading of this information.

That being said, only one of my SKYPE friends has been reachable at this time. All other SKYPE accounts are shown as "off line", even friends who I know have computers on cable in the US that are always on line. The SKYPE test call will not work and you can reach noone inside Belize.

Anyone else haveing any success??
"Just another Day in Paradise"

#213229 - 06/23/06 06:50 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
dabunk Offline
Do you all really think BTL is going to unblock because the PUC said so?? Have I got a bridge to sell you!

#213230 - 06/23/06 11:33 PM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Marty Offline
P.U.C.: VoIP verdict is fair and legal
The verdict is in on VoIP and according to the Public Utilities Commission, if the service provider isn't licensed in Belize, it ain't legal. According to the P.U.C., in its attempt to categorize, classify, and legalize the popular internet protocol, it has determined that if a customer downloads software and uses it to communicate with other subscribers, that person does not require a license. One such example is the Skype. But if you register with a company like Vonage and get a telephone number where anyone can contact you that service has to be licensed here. In fact, the commission points to the application form for a high speed internet connection from Belize Telecommunications Limited where it specifically contracts customers not to use the service for voice or video communication.And while the decision is not expected to sit well with all those people who have been enjoying VoIP's cheap calls, this afternoon P.U.C. chairman Dr. Gilbert Canton maintain that customers will still have a choice in telecommunications.

Dr. Gilbert Canton, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission
“The people that are out there that are using the Vonage service the way that they are using it right now are probably not going to be satisfied with the P.U.C.’s position at this point and time. In terms of how that service is affected, but we are hoping that this is just an interim situation and that the providers in Belize will start making those types of arrangements to offer a similar type of service in Belize. We are very positive in the sense that during the consultations, we know that a number of the I.S.P.s and in fact, B.T.L. has been talking about offering a similar type of service. We all recognize it might not be as cheap as Vonage but as mentioned earlier, they are not making money either. But at least it will be licensed in Belize, legal if you want to put it that way and at a rate that people will be more satisfied than using just the traditional international rates and stuff like that. We recognize that people want this type of service and we’re hoping that through this mechanism, we are opening it up so it can be offered in Belize by truly licensed providers in Belize that are playing by the rules in Belize.”

Janelle Chanona
“And that way you’ll get taxes?”

Dr. Gilbert Canton
“That way the benefit becomes truly a benefit to the country, in other words, government still get taxes, license fees are paid and the users out there have the economic benefit of lower rates and better access. Those kinds of issues.”

But when it comes to trying to fit technology into a legal box, Canton contends it's better to wait and watch than jump the gun.

Dr. Gilbert Canton
“It’s moving so fast, you put anything in place at this point in time it might be outdated a year from now. So let’s see where it’s all going to go and then once we are certain that it’s going there then we put something in place. And most people are talking about really just coming up with one law called a convergence law, which includes telecommunication, includes broadcasting and includes all these different things. Because it’s all just becoming one thing now offered over one service.”

#213231 - 06/24/06 09:34 AM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
Caye Connect Offline
Essentially what they have done is prohibited any service which charges money that BTL/GOB doesn't get a cut of...

In their foolishness, they have made two distinctions that are going to continue to be blurred by new technology:

1) It is okay if VoIP is used via software on your computer (i.e. Skype, MSN Voice , Yahoo Voice) and specifically not via an analog adapter (Vonage, Packet 8)

2) It is NOT okay for any service to have a public number on which anybody on the PSTN can call. Whether this means Belize # or any # remains to be seen.

Uhm, a few points:

- Skype, Yahoo and soon all of the software-based services will have PSTN gateway services (you will have a xxx.xxx.xxxx # associated with the account)

- Vonage works via a softphone too, VoIP software installed on the computer. It is possible to make a call to another Vonage user without accessing the PSTN. This is just like Skype.

- Soon all the services will work via analog adapter, ip phone or on the computer. This is one of great features of voip.

The PUC is CONFUSED. They have been thouroughly misinformed and this is VERY bad for consumer choice in Belize.

#213232 - 06/24/06 10:11 AM Re: VoIP: discussion of the VOIP problem
shuffles Offline
Not just consumer choice. For their pocketbooks, long term. If someone in the US wants to call and make a reservation to stay at a hotel in Belize and the hotel has a Vonage number, they are cut off. BTL and GOB currently make NO MONEY on incoming calls. So why cut off your nose to spite your face? Even if they allowed incoming calls, it would make it MUCH EASIER for prospective tourists, developers, investors, etc. to get in touch with someone in Belize. But now, they will be unable to. Now, there is a way to call those persons back...via BTL. But if those persons are not reached in a timely manner, they will go elsewhere.....Panama, Costa Rica, etc.......and then BTL and the GOB will be forced to raise prices, taxes, etc., for all of those who stay here. Teenagers are supposed to want instant gratification and have very little long term sight.....I didnt know there were actually grown ups, companies, and governments with the same mentality of a 14 year old.
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