VoIP and Outdated Telecom Laws

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VoIP and Outdated Telecom Laws

Here is a great article on VoIP regulation and outdated telecom laws by TMCnet’s newest reporter, Ted Glanzer. Here is an excerpt:

The Brand X case: On the judicial side, the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to issue a decision any day now regarding the infamous Brand X case. The issue before the court is whether the FCC should regulate cable broadband service as a telecommunication service under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Some so-called news analysts have dismissed the overall impact that the decision will have. I disagree. The Supreme Court never handles insignificant matters. Let me restate that for maximum effect. The Supreme Court never handles insignificant matters.

That Wild & Wacky FCC: Of course the Federal Communications Commission will be a major player in the realm of burgeoning technology issues. The commission has experienced some major turnover, what with Chairman Michael Powell resigning and Kevin Martin ascending to the top spot. Nevertheless, in May the FCC issued a ruling that requires VoIP providers to include in their services enhanced 911 capabilities. In addition, the commission on Tuesday announced that it launched an investigation into the management and administration of the Universal Service Fund, a federal law that is aimed at providing telecommunications and Internet service to rural and low-income areas as well as schools and libraries. The investigation comes on the heels of allegations of mismanagement, waste and even outright fraud regarding how the fund has been handled. The fund has about $6.5 billion at its disposal, so this is no small undertaking by the FCC.

Re-write of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: TMCnet.com recently reported that U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is handling the initial re-write of the watershed law. Among the major issues that are expected to be addressed is whether telecoms, to ease their struggles in launching their IPTV solutions, will be able to obtain national or statewide franchising agreements rather than having to obtain local licenses in the same vein that cable companies must negotiate. In addition to the protestations of cable companies concerning such legislation, groups representing cities and towns are vigorously lobbying to have the requirement of local franchise agreements remain in tact.



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