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California May Hold Back On Regulating VoIP

California Public Utilities Commissioner Susan Kennedy, named last week by the FCC to its national commission on advanced telecommunications services, is in the forefront of the PUC's new "wait and see" stance on VoIP. According to press reports, Kennedy has said the PUC will wait until the FCC makes up its mind on whether or not to regulate VoIP.

Previously, the California PUC had taken an aggressive stance on the issue, demanding that providers of VoIP register with the Commission. By not being required to be regulated -- at least for the time being -- the Web phone companies are off the hook on taxes and on bureaucratic regulatory filings.

Kennedy was named to the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services, which consists of 10 state and FCC members. The unit gathers data on deployment of advanced services throughout the nation.

The entire issue of Web telephoning and whether it should be regulated has been stalemated in recent months. In November a federal judge in Minnesota ruled that VoIP was an Internet data service and, as such, could not be regulated. The FCC has taken up the broad issue and has launched a study into VoIP.