FCC Probing Vonage Blocking


A Federal Communications Commission spokesman confirmed Thursday that the agency is investigating whether a local phone company configured its high-speed-data network to block Vonage Holdings Corp. from serving voice-over-Internet-protocol customers.

Vonage provides VoIP service to consumers with broadband access. At issue is whether the phone company deliberately disabled Vonage from providing a competing VoIP service.

The FCC spokesman said the agency was not providing further details, including the name of the phone company.

Vonage spokeswoman Brooke Schulz said the company had not filed a formal complaint.

“There is no FCC complaint. This was incorrectly reported by several outlets. It doesn't exist. We had casual conversations, no filings,” she said in an e-mail to a reporter.

Phone companies are heavily regulated by the FCC. For example, they must provide nondiscriminatory access to competing Internet-service providers, both dial-up and broadband.

BellSouth Corp. and SBC Communications Inc. have asked the FCC to drop the open-access requirement for their broadband services, arguing that cable-modem service is not covered by those rules.