Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Will US states be barred from regulating VoIP? 

The nation's top telephone regulators are widely expected to decide on Tuesday to further deregulate Internet phone services.

States would be barred from imposing telecommunications regulations on Net phone providers, which treat calls no differently than any other application on the Internet, according to those familiar with the Federal Communications Commission.

see: Feds expected to ease Net phone rules

Om Malik provides a reason: Why we need a federal oversight of VoIP? - but he also points to:

San Jose Mercury News reports that FCC is likely to take a strong stand for federal regulation of VoIP, but will likely face equally robust opposition from the states. States face loss of revenues if not allowed to regulate and tax VoIP as heavily as they tax old PSTN services. They are also saying that VoIP could mean fewer funds for Universal Service Fund. They are saying quality will suffer, and poor will be denied the basic service. The VoIP companies will have an unfair advantage over old line phone systems. In most cases, its all about the tax dollars. Telecom taxes help hide the inaptitude of most state governments whose grasp of basic math is less than that of a NBA star.

And if one considers that only two things are certain in life - death and taxes - the outcome of this struggle will be interesting.

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