VoIP is Everywhere even at the FCC

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

VoIP is Everywhere even at the FCC

All the forecasts for VoIP (and Hosted UC and Cloud) are that it is taking off and growing. That's probably because we have over 1000 VoIP Providers and that the cablecos pretty much deliver voice as VoIP, too. Plus even the ILECs - Ma Bell, VZ FiOS, Windstream, TDS - are now offerng VoIP and Hosted PBX service to everyone. So yeah the FCC TAC has declared that by 2018 less than 10% of the US population will be on the PSTN.

Hence, TW Telecom asked the FCC to declare VoIP a telecommunications service. Currently, it is classified as an information service alleviating it from some regulation and many taxes & fees. This would be the first move towards a solution for Inter-Carrier Comp. Even the courts have been uneven in the treatment of VoIP.

In addition, the FCC issued a ruling that essentially requires rural telcos to interconnect with competitors. [The ruling is here.]

Then SCOTUS (the Supreme Court) ruled that AT&T had to share lines needed for interconnection - at reasonable rates.

It's not like the FCC hasn't "proposed phasing out the decades-old public switched telephone network altogether and instead moving toward a broadband-based network to accommodate the new, popular applications". It just has to actually say that. And soon because consumer wireline voice has been declining for about 6 years, but now business wireline voice is under attack. As this TMC article explains, "The FCC is in a precarious position because tacking on fees to VoIP services could discourage the expansion of next-generation broadband networks, which the Obama administration has identified as one of its chief goals in the coming years." And the pressure is coming from tw telecom, VZ and Google. "The top priority remains the urgent need to decide the proper compensation rate for VoIP traffic," Verizon wrote in its filings with the FCC. "The commission should immediately set a single, low national default rate of $0.0007 per minute for this traffic." That's the same amount that Bandwidth.com and VZ agreed on HERE. And that's the same number that Google suggested, which makes sense since Bandwidth.com is the backend of Google Voice.

The whole restructuring of the USF fund is to balance the need for next gen carrier networks that can deliver rural broadband as well as rural voice -- oh and rural healthcare and Internet for porn to libraries and schools. Yeah, we pay for all that with our 15% Universal Service charge on every telecom bill. The key is to make the ILEC's collecting that money use it to build instead of survive.

If they had just settled inter-carrier comp 5 years ago, we'd be way ahead of the ballgame, but the same can be said of any issue in DC - healthcare, social security, medicare, debt - if the critters in DC would just do their jobs and make the hard decisions now instead of just worrying about re-election, America would be better off.

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