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Saturday, January 10, 2004

Colorado Talks Sense on VoIP--And Then Some
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Well, if you have to spend Saturday afternoon reading about VoIP, I can't commend a much better piece than Colorado PUC Chairman Greg Sopkin's special concurring opinion in the PUC's order closing down its VoIP investigation. See Ray's January 6 post below ("Florida and Colorado Talks Sense on VoIP") for the PUC link and an excerpt.

I assume that Chairman Sopkin himself would readily acknowledge he is fortunate to follow in the footsteps of another clear-thinking Colorado PUC Chair. It is easier to continue down the right path, rather than having to reverse course. Nonetheless, Sopkin's opinion explaining why VoIP should not be regulated like traditional telephone service, and especially why states should not assert regulatory jurisdiction, is one of striking force and persuasiveness.

In "The Metaphysics of VoIP" I predicted that too much of the debate about how to classify and regulate VoIP would turn on philosophical-type discourse regarding the name given the VoIP service, the shape of the terminal equipment, the terminology used to promote the service, the heritage and parentage of the company offering the service, and the like. But no metaphysician is this Professor Sopkin. Sure enough, he just hones in on the economic and marketplace realities at work here. Example: VoIP presents "a massive arbitrage opportunity." (Okay, let's see how many others can prove my metaphysics prediction wrong!)

Oh, and like his predecessor, Chairman Sopkin can turn a phrase, as when he refers to the Internet as "that job producing, life-enhancing giant." Ah...the poetics, if not metaphysics, that sometimes take hold of those toiling in the [de]regulatory gardens.

posted by Randolph May @ 2:25 PM | General

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