The Next Billion People on the Network

Today, the Berkman Center is hosting a CEO roundtable for leaders of VoIP concerns talking about getting net (and voice) access to the next billion people, organized in conjunction with VON.  Daniel Berninger is the convener.  He’s assembled a wonderful crew.  Hard questions:

* When will the latency be low enough from end-to-end on the relevant IP connections to make VoIP calling as good or better than voice?  (Which would render quality and reliability concerns moot very quickly.)

* When, if ever, is a tax-and-subsidy regime appropriate as a regulatory matter, to fund universal access or other goals?  (Ethan Zuckerman lit up the room by suggesting that, though he is not in favor of such subsidies as an abstract matter, sometimes a compromise of this sort is necessary in order to promote VoIP deployment. From there, I think he was Misunderstood.)

David Weinberger, Berkman fellow and all-around famous guy, has more, on his reax to our panel this morning.  Judith Meskill has an extensive weblog entry on the VoIP blogOry Okolloh is here and has made some of the day’s most provocative comments; maybe see if she blogs the event at all.

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