jeffpulver writes "Speak now or forever hold your peace. The FCC will decide whether or not to regulate Internet Telephony in the U.S. over the next several months. On February 5th I filed a petition with the FCC on behalf of Free World Dialup, asking for a Declaratory Ruling that states that Broadband Internet Telephony which doesn't touch the public switched telephone network (PSTN) should not be ruled as either "Telecommunications" or as a "Telecommunications Service" as defined by the Telecom Act of 1996. On February 14th the FCC put the pulver.com petition out for public comment. The public has until March 14th to respond." This is an important issue -- read on below for some more information on the background and significance of the present petition. A copy of the original petition is posted here. [1.5 MB pdf file]
Back in March, 1996 the ACTA Petition was filed which in effect asked for the internet telephony software companies selling to consumers to be treated to the same regulations as phone companies. While the FCC never ruled on ACTA, the petition started to raise questions about the future regulation of Internet Telephony in the United States and around the world. Some countries were quick to ban internet telephony based on the out of control hype that existed back in the Spring of 1996 while many other countries took a "wait and see" approach.
The pulver.com Petition is in many ways the exact opposite of the ACTA petition insomuch what I was asking for is that end-to-end Internet Telephony over Broadband remain unregulated. After seven years of waiting, now that VoIP technologies have gone mainstream and now that consumers are once again using these technologies and now that these technologies work quite well, I wanted to remove the cloud of regulatory uncertainty when it came to VoIP and broadband Internet Telephony. My hope is that "we" as a community can encourage the FCC for fast action on the FWD petition as a way for the FCC to help encourage investment. Once the regulatory uncertainty is removed, I strongly believe investors will once again look at the VoIP industry as the hot space to invest in and encourage innovation in.
Please take advantage of the pulver.com Petition and share your comments with the FCC. Click here for details on how to reply to the petition.Please reply by March 14th."