On this deep link Word Doc several levels into the Sprint site, Sprint seems to be stating their position about VoIP regulatory issues and even Vonage.
The document is undated, but a reader tips me off to the fact that the doc's metadata points to a December, 2003 posting date. The fact that it is up there means one of two things: either it is an indicator of how Sprint still really feels about consumer VoIP- and players such as Vonage- or Sprint doesn't do a very good job purging old links.
I think the former.
If you don't feel like clicking and waiting for the link to open in Word or in your browser window, I'll do ya one by pasting what it says.
Sprint Regulatory Position on VOIP
"AT&T and Vonage have each brought VoIP issues before the FCC suggesting that regulation of voice calls should be driven by the technology used to deliver the service, and all telecom services delivered via IP should be exempt from access charges. Sprint disagrees with this position. Sprint believes that real-time voice services, which are offered to the public for a fee and use standard telephone numbers, should be considered to be telecommunications services, and that the appropriate degree of regulation should not depend on the particular technology used to deliver the service. As such, these services should be subject to Universal Service Fund contributions, access charges (if the calls originate or terminate on the public switched network) and 911 and CALEA obligations.
"As broader policy matters, Sprint believes that intercarrier compensation, which varies today depending on the type of carrier, type of call (local vs. long distance) and jurisdiction of the call (intrastate vs. interstate) needs to be rationalized so that a uniform system applies to all types of traffic, and the current method of funding federal Universal Service needs to be overhauled as well. Both of these issues take on increased importance in light of the potential impact of VoIP. We will continue to pursue improvements in these policy areas in the states and at the FCC, and have urged the FCC to act quickly on the AT&T petition to begin to provide some clarification on the VoIP issue.
"While Sprint feels strongly that inter-carrier compensation needs to be restructured, the rules as they are structured today clearly provide competitive advantages to companies using VoIP. To remain competitive, Sprint is currently using VoIP on a limited basis but will explore expanding the use of VoIP if the current rules remain in place.
"The last sentence sums it up," writes Vonage Forum Member galion in a post he makes that explores the issue. "It seems to me that they are admitting 'we are behind and we wish the government to help us, but we will try to catch up.'
"Why do they (Sprint) make this public on their own web site?," galion asks astutely. He says that statements such as this make "it look like they (Sprint) are trying to find every legal way to slow VoIP if it includes regulations, taxes, law suits, etc.
"I still think, galion intuits, "they are worried they missed the new boat and their old boat still has the CenTel (their local service) anchor dragging bottom."
You know, I think he could be right?