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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Sununu's VOIP Salvo
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Senator John Sununu enters the VOIP fray this morning with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. (Registration required). He promises to introduce legislation soon to prevent undue regulation of Internet telephony. The contours of his legislation include 1) VOIP defined as an information service, 2) federal jurisdiction for VOIP and other Internet-based applications based on the Commerce Clause, 3) and he says "my bill will protect this data service from taxation."

Cynics might argue that the legislative process is long and cumbersome and so there is little to cheer in the mere announcement of legislation. Fair point. The FCC will take action before the U.S. Senate. Nonetheless, the legislature is ready to join the fray on an important regulatory issue and this is good. However, there is a secondary good achieved by Mr. Sununu this morning. It is educational. We have an attractive and articulate Senator from a swing state promoting a pro-growth, un-regulatory position for the digital economy. In many respects, he is echoing the sentiments of a prominent federal regulator on these issues. It is an interesting one-two punch but if there is no follow-up from the White House, an opportunity to take action on an innovation agenda for the economy - and for consumers - will be missed.

posted by @ 10:33 AM | General

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