With the recent signing of IP VoIP interconnection terms by Verizon and four other new service provider, competitor have raised concerns about the non-disclosure agreement they are required to sign. This agreement gives the four service providers an opportunity to access Verizon’s IP Interconnection union which will provide a nationwide accord with other service providers that want to exchange VoIP traffic.

Although the signing of this agreement brings out Verizon’s spirit of teamwork, many competitors are worried that as a result of the non-disclosure agreement, they will not be able to seek regulatory help in cases of unreasonable terms by the Telco. These non-disclosure agreements put the competitors at a disadvantage in instances where they are seeking interconnection.

A similar incident occurred in Michigan between AT&T and Sprint. Later a decision that required carriers to wait for the FCC to negotiate interconnection terms was overruled by Michigan’s public Utility commission. In this case ,Sprint IP interconnections  for transmission of telephone calls was to be provided by AT&T, the same way AT&T provided for itself, its affiliates and third parties. Interestingly Verizon commented that the PUC’s decision would disrupt the progress made in the industry. In Massachusetts, the Department of Telecommunication and Cable is trying to find out if it has the authority to regulate the IP VoIP interconnection agreement between Comcast and Verizon.

Recently a Joint Task Force has been established with the aim of finding a specification that will enable all North American service providers to establish IP communications, network to network interface arrangements that they can all support and implement. It is thus evident that large telecoms need to play fair with their competitor and that this argument is nowhere near complete.

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