The Federal Communications Commission plans to launch its much-awaited rulemaking on voice-over-Internet-protocol services at its Feb. 12 public meeting.
The rulemaking is expected to establish the regulations with which cable companies must comply when their high-speed-data customers sign up for VoIP services.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing legislation requiring cable operators to contribute VoIP revenue to the universal-service program, which keeps dialtone service affordable nationwide.
At the meeting, the FCC is also expected to rule that Pulver.com's Web-based VoIP service, called Free World Dialup (www.pulver.com/fwd), is neither telecommunications nor a telecommunications service within the meaning of federal.
The ruling would shield FWD from telecommunications regulations shouldered by Verizon Communications, BellSouth Corp. and other traditional phone carriers.
FWD is an Internet-based voice service that permits members to speak only among themselves using phone numbers assigned by Pulver.com. FWD calls do not come in contact with traditional phone networks.