Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the VON Coalition?

A. The VON (Voice on the Net) Coalition is a US 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization incorporated in May 1998 to represent and promote the interests of the Internet Protocol communications industry worldwide. Members include the world’s leading suppliers of IP communications products and services.

Q. What is Voice on the Net?

A. Voice on the Net refers to communication across Internet Protocol (IP) networks. As such it represents a departure from the majority of communications today, which is performed over conventional switched networks.

Q. Why is the Coalition necessary?

A. IP communications represents a fundamental change in the services end-users can obtain how these services are delivered to end-users. Governmental restrictions, we believe, will hinder the growth of the IP communications market. The VON Coalition protects the interests of the IP communications industry by educating regulators about the benefits IP communications provides to end users.

Q. What will the VON Coalition do?

A. The VON Coalition will maintain and expand its relationships with legislators, governmental agencies, regulators, and other policymakers. By doing so, the VON Coalition will help decision-makers gain a broader view and understanding of the potential of IP communications and how it works. In turn, this should lead to better legislative and regulatory decisions. We also educate our members about important federal, state and international regulatory initiatives that may impact their businesses.

Q. Why is this important?

A. Primarily to avoid legislative and regulatory decisions made without a clear understanding of the value of IP communications.

Q. Will the VON Coalition create standards for Internet-based voice communication?

A. No, other organizations do this already. The VON Coalition will not create standards; rather, it will concentrate on working with key industry participants in defining the broad impact of IP communications and its impact on the global communications industry.

Q. What specific issues will the VON Coalition address?

A. The VON Coalition will address a number of issues that will impact IP communications, including efforts to regulate or deregulate IP services, as well as issues affecting the communications industry generally, including broadband deployment, next generation E911 networks, disability access, universal service and inter-carrier compensation.

Q. What will happen if the IP communications industry becomes regulated?

A. Most probably it will decrease adoption of IP communications services. It will also create major barriers for companies and service providers wanting to provide added value and enhanced services to end-users and businesses by forcing them to engineer their offerings to address regulatory requirements rather than market requirements.

Q. How will these changes affect consumers?

A. IP communication enables communication between people using a packetized (IP) Network for cost-effective transport of voice, video, data and fax. IP communications enables people to use existing broadband networks to communicate better from different locations all over the world, creating a truer "global village."

Q. What is the future of communicating over Internet protocol (IP) networks?

A. Some forecasts project the Internet telephony market to total more than $200 billion by 2014. Whether that number is high or low, all agree the IP services will be a very significant aspect of future communications.

Q. Are there other organizations besides the VON Coalition dedicated to supporting and promoting the IP communications industry?

A. No.

Q. Who can join  the VON Coalition?

A. Membership is open to any company interested in the success of the IP communications industry.

Q. How was the VON Coalition formed?

A. The VON Coalition was formed in March 1996 by Jeff Pulver, a well-known pioneer in the field of IP communications. The Coalition was created out of the need to establish a unified voice to decision-makers and key industry players. The VON Coalition formally incorporated in May 1998.

Q. What are the benefits of VON Coalition membership?

A. By joining the VON Coalition, members receive a myriad of benefits, including:

  • The opportunity to influence public policy;
  • Twice monthly regulatory calls
  • The opportunity to vote on key decisions of the VON Coalition;
  • The opportunity to serve on the VON Board of Directors or as an officer;
  • Access to the latest information regarding the status of IP communications;
  • Exposure to key industry stakeholders, task forces and policymakers;
  • Participation in strategy sessions, which are used to facilitate discussion and consensus concerning the future of IP communications, and;
  • Affiliation with other companies and individuals who support IP communications.

Q. How can I learn more and join the Coalition?

A. o find out more information, contact Glenn Richards, Executive Director, at 202-663-8215 or email glenn.richards@pillsburylaw.com.. To join, fill out the online membership registration form that can be found here.