The Public Utilities Commission has started a comprehensive research into the laws governing Voice Over Internet Protocol in Belize. Voice Over Internet allows people with internet service to communicate by voice with people almost anywhere in the world. Almost all computers sold today come with the hardware built in to make voice over internet possible, and telecommunications companies throughout the world see the technology as a direct threat to long distance telephone service. On April 26th, the Public Utilities Commission will hold the first in a series of forums entitled, 'The Opportunities and Threats to Voice Over Internet Protocol in Belize'. it will aim at dealing with this form of technology as it relates to telephone companies in Belize. The PUC plans to have individual license holders which are telephone companies, internet service providers, representatives of the business community, government, and interested individuals at the forum. These people will ma!
ke presentations on the opportunities and the threats of this type of technology in Belize. The PUC has also talked with international telecommunications expert Dr. Wim Van Dyke. Van Dyke is studying Voice Over Internet Protocol technology. He will give an international perspective on VOIP at the forum. The PUC's decision to hold the forum follows several verbal complaints that Belize Telecommunications Limited has blocked VOIP for people using BTL's infrastructure. BTL's service contract with its customers normally says that anyone that buys services from BTL is not allowed to use VOIP technology using BTL's infrastructure. Following the April 26th forum, the PUC will lay out a legal framework and formulate a policy on VOIP usage in Belize. The process should be completed by late July and the policyand draft regulations should be out by September.