Last night, again according to Tech Daily's PM Edition [subscription required], Michael Powell told a receptive crowd of industry insiders that "Internet VoIP is genuinely something new and not just a new way of doing something old."
I don't want to quibble with the Chairman on the way out the door, but...I'm not sure whether VoIP is "genuinely something new" or "just a new way of doing something old". I'm not sure VoIP is not a new way of communicating with people (something old). And I'm sure it offers some new features and functions in doing so (something new).
So, I am absolutely sure--in my both my certainty and uncertainty-- that I was right in January 2004 in The Metaphysics of VoIP when I said the debate about VoIP's regulatory status would turn metaphysical quickly. Whether VoIP is really "something old" or "something new" might be good fodder for debate in a philosophy class at a Jesuit seminary or Talmudic academy, with the answer perhaps turning on the meaning of reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses. By definition, a metaphysical feast!
But as I said back then in The Metaphysics of VoIP, in today's competitive environment we need to move quickly to put in place a regime that looks to marketplace realities, not metaphysics, to determine (de)regulatory treatment.