FCC's DSL ruling may spell trouble for VoIP providers

FCC's DSL ruling may spell trouble for VoIP providers

Summary: On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission lifted regulations on high-speed DSL services offered by local telephone companies.The FCC ruled that these services should be treated as "information services" rather than phone services.

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TOPICS: Government US
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On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission lifted regulations on high-speed DSL services offered by local telephone companies.

The FCC ruled that these services should be treated as "information services" rather than phone services. This ruling will insulate telcos from having to lease network access to competitors at regulated rates.

The ruling was enacted in part to provide regulatory and financial obstacles for phone companies who will now have access to profits from negotiated market-rate access to their lines.

The most direct impact will be on alternate Internet Service Providers. They will have to dig deeper to pay fees to the telcos. These will, of course, be added to your bill.

But what about VoIP? Internet telephony pioneer Jeff Pulver sees trouble ahead.

"We are moving rapidly into a world in which Internet-based voice application providers have virtually all of the responsibilities of traditional telecom carriers and none of the rights," Jeff writes in his blog. The FCC is officially now burning the Internet user's candle at both ends.

"The FCC," he adds, "is simultaneously relieving those who control access to users of any obligations to ensure that users may obtain the content and applications of their choice while imposing telecom-like regulations on the Internet.

One of the most prescient reaction to Jeff's post comes from kingsley, who posted this zinger of a comment to Jeff's blog over the weekend:

"This has all the earmarks of powerful incumbent combatants setting up the market for themselves to florish and locking out upstarts (oh, and who cares about consumers)," kingsley writes. "After all who better to serve the people than those paternal old companies who brought you 100 years of tip and ring, three (count 'em three) mobile technologies conveniently different from the rest of the world, and the eleventh (sorry, now 16th) biggest broadband network despite our being the (supposedly) most technologically advanced country on the planet?

"Good News though, we have widened our lead in dial-up penetration! Whoopee," kingsley adds.

Topic: Government US

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6 comments
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  • Flawed thinking

    The telcos are FINISHED! I DO hope they try to duke it out with cable companies against the VoIP hordes. This keeps them busy fighting in the middle of the steet when the WiMAX steamroller shows up. With the telcos and cablecos NOT looking "both ways", they will both end up flat as a pancake. The house of the future (2010) will have exactly 1 wired service - electricity (and BPL will NOT work, so all other connectivity will be wireless).
    Roger Ramjet
    • WiMAX scalability

      Rog, have you seriously looked into the scalability of WiMAX? Hate to break the news, but the bandwidth just isn't there for it to replace wired communications for everyone.

      Think of it in terms of coverage for one cell and bandwith for that area. You get a bandwidth/area number that's too low for serious mass adoption.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Depends

        If you're talking about MESH networks, then when more nodes are added, they take on some of the bandwidth "burden". A completely meshed network would scale quite nicely! Of course, the meshing algorithms and software to implement them would need to be up-to-par.
        Roger Ramjet
        • Mesh depends on connections

          Mesh doesn't solve the problem -- I was referring to the load on a single access point, which is purely a function of bandwidth and range. I [b]assume[/b] that the access points have wired connections.

          If you go to mesh, the load on each node is increased due to the addition of "upstream" connections as well as local wireless.

          The scaling problem has nothing to do with network architecture and everything to do with the physics of RF communications.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Big guys win, little guys loose...

    Ah, the American Dream...
    BitTwiddler
  • FCC's is squezing inovation

    The FCC's people must be getting thier palms greased by big telco, because thier stance has certianly changed. Those guys just do not learn every time the govt regulates industries it harms the consumer, the only regs that are good are the ones that increase competition not stiffel it, if you are going to require voip to provide 911 calling then require the big-telcos that control it to allow them to access it. This is not brain surgery, the big-telcos are using 911 to maintian thier geographic monopolies
    BuckRogers_z