TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

Re: Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

John R Levine (
15 Feb 2005 00:26:04 -0500

> That's what gets me. Last I remember, to qualify as a common carrier, an
> ISP isn't allowed to exact any sort of traffic control beyond what is
> necessary to maintain the stability of the network. Anything more and it
> could be seen as having the ability to control its content, and would be
> vicariously liable for crimes committed over its infrastructure and
> services.

> Isn't that still the case?

That is not the case and never has been. In the US, at least, ISPs
are not common carriers, have never been common carriers, and never
will be common carriers unless there's a significant change in the
law. ISPs owned by telephone companies are not common carriers, even
though their sister telcos are.

The legal responsibility of ISPs for the material they carry has
nothing to do with the amount of traffic control they exert and
everything to do with specific laws on the topic, notably the CDA (47
USC 230) and the DMCA (17 USC 512).

I don't know why the myth about ISPs being common carriers keeps
reappearing. It's not like it's hard to find out.

With respect to alleged VoIP blocking, my ISP happens to be a
subsidiary of my local rural telco, and I just cancelled my Vonage
service due to a combination of voice quality that went into the
toilet and Vonage's complete failure to provide any support when I
tried to e-mail or call them. But having done a fair amount of packet
traces, I'm quite sure that this has nothing to do with my ISP and a
whole lot to do with congestion at routers within NSPs and
particularly the gateways between the NSP that my ISP uses and the one
that Vonage uses. I switched to Lingo and their voice quality is OK.


John Levine Primary Perpetrator of The Internet for Dummies,
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be,, Mayor
"I dropped the toothpaste", said Tom, crestfallenly.

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