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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows users to make phone calls using the same line as an Internet connection. This technology can replace your traditional phone service while providing the same calling features such as call waiting, three-way calling, caller ID, voicemail, etc.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines Interconnected VoIP as a service that (1) enables real-time, two-way voice communication; (2) requires a broadband connection from the user's location; (3) requires Internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment (CPE); and (4) permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network.
VoIP service can be eligible as Priority 1 Telecommunications Services or Internet Access. Eligible VoIP services include the costs for making phone calls and can also include features such as three-way calling, caller ID, and voicemail.
Beginning with Funding Year 2010, applicants requesting only VoIP services in the telecommunications services or Internet access categories are not required to prepare a technology plan, and the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) does not apply to those services. However, applicants requesting bundled services such as Internet access with VoIP are still required to prepare a technology plan and to be compliant with CIPA.
A gateway device located on the applicant premise may be included as part of an eligible Priority 1 service as a single basic terminating component. A gateway device is analogous to a CSU/DSU or a network interface device (NID) in that it functions as the termination point for a Priority 1 service. The internal communications network would fail if the gateway were removed and the gateway is necessary to access the public switched telephone network, so the gateway is considered a necessary component of end-to-end access to telecommunications service.
As an example, USAC has a diagram available showing the “brains” of the service located in the service provider’s central office. This differs from other examples as here the VoIP phone system is located on the applicant’s premise. In this diagram the gateway is eligible as Priority 1.
USAC has a diagram available that is an example of a leased router that meets the on-premise Priority 1 condition that the voice network remains functional without dependence on the leased router. In the diagram, the VoIP phone system is owned by the applicant and not leased from the service provider. This configuration can be eligible as Priority 1 assuming the other conditions for on-premise Priority 1 equipment are satisfied.