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MIT To Form Internet Telephony Consortium

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced the formation of an Internet Telephony Interoperability Project. An informational meeting will be held on May 7 at MIT for all firms that might be interested in joining.

Internet telephony applications span traditional telecommunications infrastructures and the Internet, enabling the development of new personal communications services. Among them is the use of the Internet for long-distance calls.

The project will be based in MIT's Research Program on Communications Policy (RPCP), a multidisciplinary research group focusing on infrastructures' interoperability and Internet economics. It will be multidisciplinary in nature and will consider technical, economic, regulatory and business issues that are presented by Internet telephony. RPCP has succeeded at highlighting the need for interoperability for high bandwidth applications such as digital television and networked multimedia and is extending its ground- breaking work to the intersection point between the Internet and the Public Switched Telephone Network.

Internet telephony has already presented regulatory concerns. For example, America's Carriers Telecommunications Association, a lobbying organization for non-dominant long-distance carriers, has filed a petition before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A graduate student team at MIT has been organized to study the petition and will provide comments to the FCC. An information clearinghouse about the petition can be reached at:

MIT has demonstrated leadership in the development of the Internet, most recently through the formation of the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT's Laboratory of Computer Science, which develops standards for the World Wide Web.

The laboratory has played a key role in the development of protocols for the Internet, and will be advising the project.

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