The PhoneBoy Blog


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FCC Claims Juristiction over VoIP

All I can say is: it’s about time. A recent blog entry from Jeff Pulver summarizes a bunch of the press on the issue as well as an article on Voxilla, of course.

Based on the press release from the FCC, it appears that basically anything that looks like Vonage’s service is, quoting from the press release, “not subject to traditional state public utility regulation”. The reason is that Vonage DigitalVoice “cannot practically be separated into intrastate and interstate components, precluding dual state and federal regulatory regimes. DigitalVoice customers can use their phones from a broadband connection anywhere in the world, making it difficult to determine whether a call is local, interstate or international in nature.”

It doesn’t answer the tax question at all, which is what is going to get the various governmental agencies all riled up. This federal juristiction means state and local goverments can’t really tax it effectiely, meaning as more people move to VoIP services, they will collect less telecom-related tax monies. As someone who believes in less government, I can’t find myself shedding a tear over this “problem.”


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