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Johanne Torres[November 3, 2004]

Countdown Begins for FCC�s Ruling on VoIP


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be ruling next Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, on the possibility of considering Internet Telephony a nationwide service not liable for local state taxation, regulation, and pricing. The decision arises from year-old petition by Voice over IP (VoIP) (define - news - alert - tutorial) service provider Vonage for a declaratory ruling concerning an order of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

During the ruling meeting, the FCC (news - alert) says it will consider a memorandum opinion and order concerning Vonage’s (news- alert) petition for declaratory ruling regarding its DigitalVoice service in Minnesota. The VoIP provider was asked by Minnesota’s PUC to register as a standard telephone provider.

Minnesota’s PUC request made sparks fly, eventually causing Vonage to take legal action against the state’s commission, putting all regulation efforts on hold until now that the FCC is trying to reach a decision. The suit would continue on Nov. 17, 2004.

The FCC will decide whether Internet Telephony can be considered a nationwide information technology service such as e-mail or Instant Messaging, or another form of telephone communication service which could be severely taxed and regulated. This is a move that could certainly ease VoIP adoption efforts throughout the United States, pushing a possible regulation that would free the technology from going through negotiations in each and every state

For more news on VoIP regulation issues, please visit TMCnet’s VoIP Minute Watch column.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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