Fla. Bill: No Regulating VoIP


Promoting the deployment of voice over Internet protocol is in the public
interest, according to the Florida legislature, which passed a bill Friday to
protect the technology from regulation by state utility regulators or local

Another piece of the telecommunications reform -- which was approved by a
wide margin by both state houses -- also provides protection to broadband
services from local regulation.

Cable lobbyists anticipated that this language will keep city officials from
mimicking high-speed-data customer-service standards under consideration in
other jurisdictions. This should make it clear to local governments that data
issues can't be raised in cable-refranchising negotiations, they added.

Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to sign the bill, as his office was active in the
legislature negotiating the terms of the broad-based bill.

However, opponents vowed to attempt to change the governor's mind in the next
30 days, as the reform eliminated a pricing structure that provided low-cost
local phone service subsidized by high access fees for long-distance