Cat's Out Of The Bag: FCC Won't Let States Regulate VoIP

I have it on the word of key VoIP industry insider Jeff Pulver -- that consistent with the expectations of industry watchers --the FCC will issue a ruling later today that prohibits states from "imposing economic regulations" on services such as Vonage. In fact, the insider'sPR representatives have sent me a comment on the ruling.

I have it on the word of key VoIP industry insider Jeff Pulver -- that consistent with the expectations of industry watchers --the FCC will issue a ruling later today that prohibits states from "imposing economic regulations" on services such as Vonage. In fact, the insider'sPR representatives have sent me a comment on the ruling.

The statement says:

"In the world's first regulatory statement freeing VoIP communications from legacy telecom regulation, the FCC ruled last February that pulver.com's computer-to-computer Free World Dialup service was an unregulated information service. The pulver Order was a great first step to ensure that pure peer-to-peer VoIP services are not subjected to legacy regulations. The Vonage Order is the next logical step to ensure that VoIP services that look like more traditional telecom services are not subjected to a cumbersome, patchwork of state regulations."

"We are encouraged by the FCC's decision preempting states from imposing economic regulations on nomadic VoIP services. Today's decision was essential to allow the IP-based communications industry to develop and flourish free from traditional telecommunications regulation and to ensure that a hodge-podge of archaic telecom regulations do not stifle the nascent IP-based communications industry."

"Every sector of the high tech and communications industries, including capital markets, has been watching to see how rules are set for this potentially explosive technology, one that holds tremendous promise not only for communications innovation, but also for the global economy."

"Certainly, the Commission should not subject IP-based communications to a set of archaic regulations that were designed and kluged together over the years to patch together a disparate array of technologies and services. The disruptive emergence of IP-based communications essentially compels the Commission, the States and every regulatory authority around the globe to rethink the patchwork of disparate, illogical and irreconcilable regulations."

"The Commission must next resolve the lingering intercarrier compensation and universal service proceedings, particularly to ensure that IP-based communications providers are not dragged into existing regulatory schemes that so desperately need to be reformed. The conclusions and rules that will result from these proceedings will greatly affect the future of all IP-based communications, including the speed of deployment, consumer and enterprise adoption and ubiquity of IP-based communications."

"Regulators and the IP-based communications industry must also start to think creatively about how to protect consumers in a new communications environment. pulver.com and many members of the IP-based communications community are committed to achieving the social good through industry-based solutions that do not unnecessarily subject industry to regulatory and other governmental intrusion. To that end, in fact, pulver.com has established the Global IP Alliance (www.ipall.org), an international organization committed to advancing IP-based communications and resolving the commercial, technical, operational and social issues confronting the worldwide IP communications community."

"VoIP is 'disruptive communications' in the most positive sense. IP-based communications allow for 'open' solutions, with no barriers to entry and no relation to geography. IP-based communications are capable of empowering users to control their own communications experience. There, however, is a real danger in regarding VoIP simply as a cheaper way to provide voice service. That is NOT VoIP. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that it does not get relegated to the world of black rotary phones, but truly becomes the communications of the future."

More later, when the ruling comes down and I have had a chance to fully dissect it.

Full disclosure: I am Features Editor of VON Magazine, which is associated with Pulver.com.

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