As expected, the FCC today ruled on the Vonage petition, declaring VoIP services like Vonage to be interstate in nature and thus beyond the reach of state regulation. Just as important, the Commission appears to have ruled that integrated VoIP offerings are also interstate and exempt from state regulation. Anna-Maria Kovacs reports:
We believe these rules will apply both to VoIP services that are pure applications as well as services in which the application is to some extent integrated with the underlying facility. We do not expect that it applies to pure cable modem or pure DSL as access media. We do believe it applies to an integrated cable VOIP offering and might be extrapolated to apply to an ILEC integrated VoIP offering as well.
This is important to both phone companies and cable companies because it gives them a path to regulatory escape from the state retail regulation and taxation through their own VoIP offerings. Oh, and those calling for intercarrier comp and universal service reform, the timetable just became accelerated. Congrats finally to Vonage, which with one petition seems to have accomplished more unregulation of communications than the FCC managed in the previous eight years.