Legal classification of Internet telephony appears to be an issue the Federal
Communications Commission can no longer avoid.
Vonage Holdings Corp. -- which provides Internet-protocol telephone service
over cable and other broadband networks -- has asked the FCC to rule that
voice-over-IP service is an unregulated information service free from complying
with regulations applied to major carriers like Verizon Communications and SBC
Vonage made the request after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
recently ruled that Vonage was a provider of telephone service just like
traditional carriers and could not avoid common-carrier regulation.
Vonage's petition asked the FCC to pre-empt Minnesota's ruling and support
the company's position that it is an information-service provider within the
meaning of federal law.
Comments are due Oct. 27.