Policy

Sachs: Cable Should Embrace VoIP Social Policies

5/03/2004 6:18 AM Eastern

New Orleans -- Cable operators that roll out voice-over-Internet-protocol service should expect to comply with social regulation in exchange for pricing and packaging freedom, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs said Monday.

Although VoIP providers currently face little regulation, they are coming under close scrutiny in Washington, D.C., where policymakers want to see some VoIP revenue contributed to the universal-service fund that keeps local phone service affordable in rural America.

In his speech, Sachs said cable VoIP providers can expect to pay into universal service; to ensure reliable access to emergency police, fire and rescue services; and to outfit their networks so that they can be used by the physically challenged.

"I am optimistic that the [Federal Communications Commission] will allow regulatory freedom to develop these new services. But given this freedom, we must accept our responsibility to support important societal objectives," he added.

The cable industry should expect that regulators and lawmakers would want to see VoIP providers ensure that long-established telecommunications-policy goals are advanced, not eroded.

"We must always remind ourselves of this reality," Sachs said.

September