An argument for FCC VoIP oversight even a Libertarian *might* agree with

Yesterday at the Consumer VoIP Summit in Las Vegas, I heard an entrepreneur and an FCC official separately make the point for enterprise VoIP telephony's price point advantages.First, Vonage founder and VoIP entrepreneur Jeff Pulver generically noted "several studies" that have seemed to imply more than 60 percent of enterprise calls - both wireless and wired, start and end within the same enterprise.

Yesterday at the Consumer VoIP Summit in Las Vegas, I heard an entrepreneur and an FCC official separately make the point for enterprise VoIP telephony's price point advantages.

First, Vonage founder and VoIP entrepreneur Jeff Pulver generically noted "several studies" that have seemed to imply more than 60 percent of enterprise calls - both wireless and wired, start and end within the same enterprise.

In some cases, depending on the calling plans in force, that could mean a pretty hefty PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or even cell bill. So if you are based in Chicago, and call your colleague in Atlanta, the minutes and the cents just may pile up.

Then, with just a tinge of despair, the FCC's Robert Pepper weighed in with a reminder on just how out-of-whack the PSTN long-distance toll structure is. The FCC's Chief of Policy Development used a couple of bar charts and grafs to note that many more times than not, intrastate PSTN is pricier by the minute than interstate PSTN. That's largely due to termination fees, and crazy-quilt local utility regulation.

If you make your calls over VoIP, especially a flat-rate plan, then the nagging minutiae of PSTN call rate tracking becomes a secondary concern at most.

That's because with VoIP, these complicating issues such as termination fees and local regulation will be less at the forefront.

Or maybe not at all. Which is exactly why the FCC want to reserve the right to regulate this stuff, and not grant the individual states the authority to do so.

Which may be why Mr. Pepper opened up his presentation with a more wry-than-wrought exclamation you may have heard before: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

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