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.