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Regulators Should Keep Hands Off VoIP, Industry Group Says

Federal regulators should continue taking a hands-off approach towards companies building Internet-phone services in order to avoid stifling innovation within the nascent industry, an industry trade group said Tuesday.

Federal regulators should continue taking a hands-off approach towards companies building Internet-phone services in order to avoid stifling innovation within the nascent industry, an industry trade group said Tuesday.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, D.C., the Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition said services evolving around voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, technology would be severely hampered by federal involvement, particularly if the government bases regulations on those governing traditional telephone service.

The coalition, which includes AT&T, Microsoft, Intel, and Texas Instruments, advised the FCC to continue with its hands-off policy to foster innovation.

"VoIP should be an unregulated information service, and it should be exclusively under federal jurisdiction," VON spokesman Jim Kohlenberger said. "Congress and the FCC have generally had a hands-off approach to Internet services, including data, voice, video, and email. That's been a successful policy that has really allowed the Internet to flourish. New Internet communications technology can benefit from that same enlightened policy going forward."

Daryl Schoolar, analyst for technology researcher In-Stat/MDR, agreed with VON's position, saying too few businesses and consumers are using Internet phone services to warrant government regulations.

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