Federal Lawmakers Urge FCC To Take VoIP Under Its Wing

Three Republican federal lawmakers are urging the Federal Communications Commission to rule that VoIP services are "interstate in nature," arguing that such a determination would bring VoIP technology under FCC

May 26, 2004

1 Min Read
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Three Republican federal lawmakers are urging the Federal Communications Commission to rule that VoIP services are "interstate in nature," arguing that such a determination would bring VoIP technology under FCC jurisdiction and away from state regulators.

The lawmakers' letter was sent after the New York Public Service Commission ruled last week that VoIP provider Vonage Holdings was a telephone company and thus subject to state regulation.

Signing the letter against state regulation are U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., and U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J. Reps. Ferguson and Pickering are members of the House Telecommunications Committee.

"What's being encouraged is that the FCC rule on the interstate part (of telecom regulations,)" Vonage spokeswoman Brooke Schulz said. "If the FCC doesn't decide, the courts will."

In the letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the congressmen wrote that "VoIP is a technology that allows voice communications to be converted into 'packets' and transported as data over an IP network.""Because of the unique attributes of this service, including its mobility, a general inability to decipher the actual origination of calls, and the irrelevant treatment of area codes when assigning numbers, it would be deleterious to impose a patchwork of 50 different sets of regulatory regimes on such a nascent and ubiquitous technology.

"We note with enthusiasm that a broad cross section for the communications industry support our position on the interstate nature of VoIP offerings, including numerous Regional Bell Operating Companies, interexchange carriers, equipment manufacturers, CLECs and cable telephony providers."

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