California PUC and VoIP Regulation

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Rich Tehrani
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California PUC and VoIP Regulation

In my mind we need a great deal less government intervention in our daily lives and this is especially true when the government serves as a direct road block to progress in an industry that has so much potential like VoIP. A recent article on TMCnet, California to Appeal FCCs Decision on VoIP Regulation shows how some states are not happy with the FCC eliminating their ability to regulate VoIP. Minnesota and California are just two of the states that are using our tax dollars to make it more difficult for VoIP to proliferate. VoIP serves the public good and we are in a very sensitive time in the industry. There are some low cost carriers giving a great deal of choice to consumers and at the low end of the scale a company like Skype is able to do much of what the paid service providers can but at no cost. If the states keep pushing to drive costs up among VoIP providers, they will make the price rift between a company like Vonage and Skype larger and more and more people will just turn to Skype.I am a huge Skype fan and advocate and have nothing against them. I just think the law of unintended consequences will push exponentially more consumers to Skype as the government decides to play around with regulating our industry to death. Couple this with the fact that more VCs will avoid VoIP investments if the revenue model isnt there and every state hangs its own regulatory cloud over the industry.This is a problem because unlike a Vonage who centrally manages telephone calls and is a US based company that collects revenue from calls, Skype is a European company that collects no revenue from the bulk of its calls and is software based meaning calls don't even have to go through Skype (unless they travel over the PSTN to a non-Skype client).I truly fear every state cutting off their noses to spite their faces and then wondering why there is no company left to regulate.So to make the record clear, I am in favor o making sure that VoIP is regulated in a manner that ensures safety as well as local number portability. I am not in favor of every state doing whatever it feels is best and damaging the entire industry along the way. If the concept of California doing its best to hurt the VoIP market upsets you, please let the California Public Utilities Commission know about it.


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