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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 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."

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