As providers of telecom tax and VoIP tax solutions, we are interested in anything that may change the commercial dynamics of the internet.
We are looking with great interest at the upcoming meeting of the International Telecommunications Union, beginning December 3 in Dubai. Today, we take the internet and the free flow of information for granted. But, for countries around the world, the internet has changed the balance of power and the revenue streams.
VoIP has displaced landline service around the world, leaving poorer nations to look for new streams of revenue. The free flow of information has also displaced local media and put governments at risk. So, this meeting should be interesting, as the governments of less developed countries look to gain more revenue and control, while more developed countries hope to maintain the internet as it is with a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach.
Amongst the players, the United States is aligned with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and others as preferring to keep the internet as it is now. As well as having support from African countries, officials say Russia has backing for some of its proposals from China.
With over half of world owning smart phones, this is perhaps the most under reported story in the world. We watch and hope that the internet remains the engine of commerce and prosperity that is has been for the last 20 years.