By Roy Mark
Both sides of the Voice over IP (define) divide weighed in on
yesterday's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that
stipulates the interstate nature of VoIP services.
Two lawmakers were quick to agree with FCC Chairman Michael Powell who
said Tuesday's ruling "lays a jurisdictional foundation" for future
telecom reform. However, rural telecom and consumer groups saw little
to celebrate in the agency's decision.
[Jack Decker Comment: I have only heard of one or possibly two
misguided consumer groups, particularly the one in Ohio, that are
having a fit about this. I'd still like to know where the group in
Ohio gets their funding.]
"I strongly support the FCC's decision to exempt Internet telephony
from state regulation," wrote U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), chairman
of the House Energy and commerce Committee. "To subject this emerging
global technology to the quagmire of 51 possible sets of regulations
in the U.S. alone would suffocate both quality and cost-efficient
"With this decision, Congress and the FCC can work in the coming year
to allow VoIP services to become a viable alternative to traditional
telephone service," Barton added. "I look forward to creating clear
rules for all IP-enabled services."
In the Senate, New Hampshire Republican John Sununu, a member of the
Senate Commerce Committee, praised the FCC for "following the lead
established" by his legislation calling for the pre-emption of state
regulation of broadband voice services. Like Barton, Sununu predicted
more congressional action on the issue.
"Comprehensive federal legislation is needed now to deal with expected
legal challenges to this FCC decision, and to address other aspects
involving this technology," he said in a statement.
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