(Nikkei BP Group)
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| MII Official Disputes Court Ruling on IP Telephony
January 28, 1999 (BEIJING) -- The method of categorizing Internet Protocol
(IP) telephone services is the subject of controversy in China, with
large phone service revenues at stake.
|In the government's first apparent response to a recent Fuzhou court
ruling that Internet Protocol phone services come under the category
of computer information services and are open to the public, an official
at the Ministry of Information Industry said that only Internet information
services, excluding IP phone and fax, are open to public.
A strict permit-issuing system will be introduced only when conditions
are ripe, according to Xu Mutu, director of the market administration
group of the MII's Telecom Bureau.
"We are stilling building and improving facilities for the new sector,
and studying how to operate and manage such facilities," Xu said.
Xu's remarks came after the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in eastern
China's Fujian province decided in favor of Chen Yan and Chen Zhui,
who were charged with "illegally setting up an international telephone
service on the Internet."
Xu argued that China's IP phone service should be administered by the
unified State Telecommunications Department, and that no one would be
allowed to run an IP phone business without prior examination of their
qualifications and a business permit.
However, Zhang Dongsheng, an official at the State Development Planning
Commission, said that China should encourage the growth of the IP phone
service to improve the range of choices available to international callers.
(Xinhua News Agency)
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