TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: FCC Limits State Oversight Of Internet Phone Calling

FCC Limits State Oversight Of Internet Phone Calling

Lisa Minter (
Wed, 10 Nov 2004 08:30:20


The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday exempted Internet
calling services from most state regulation, in a ruling sought by
startup Vonage Holdings but also welcomed by big phone and cable TV

If the FCC ruling withstands expected court challenges, states will
not regulate voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, the way they do
traditional dial-tone phone calls. In a filing, Vonage had asked to be
shielded from state regulation because VoIP calls are an interstate

States typically certify phone companies, regulate rates and tax
services. While the FCC curtailed the role of states, providers of
VoIP services may not avoid some traditional telecom charges and
regulations in the long run.

That's because the FCC itself and Congress intend to address many key
regulatory questions. The issues include whether VoIP service
providers must pay fees that subsidize phone services in rural areas
or pay "access charges." Those are fees that phone companies collect
to connect calls.

Despite these lingering questions, some lawmakers hailed the FCC's
decision Tuesday.

Full story at:

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