The PSC correctly (in PULP’s view) argued that VoIP is a telecommunications service subject to access charges: “every carrier is obligated to pay a terminating carrier for the use of its network.” It went on to note that granting Global NAPS' request would “undermine our ability to develop fair and balanced telecommunications policies” when competing sets of rules apply to competing providers. The PSC cited to an ongoing state proceeding involving Global NAPS where it refuses to pay a small competitive local exchange carrier to terminate traffic from its customers. The local carrier has now asked the PSC for permission to block incoming traffic from Global NAPS because the company continues to not pay. As a result, the PSC is seeking a declaration from the FCC that it is imperative to “treat traffic that is functionally equivalent to similar pricing rules.”
Now the PSC needs to apply this philosophy to more than just access charges. Why should VoIP providers, including the cable television companies which offer voice services which have captured nearly half of the local exchange market in the state, be exempt from the PSC’s consumer protections, service quality standards, and regulatory assessments – which apply to the incumbent carriers? PULP supports reasonable consumer protections and service quality standards that apply to all providers along with consistent regulatory assessments for all providers. See
- VoIP Phone Providers to Start Collecting E-911 Surcharge;
- PSC Tells FCC to Permit States to Assess VoIP for State Universal Service Funds;
- Staff Report Released after State Senate Hearing on Telecom Taxes; Acknowledges Need for Consumer Protections for Telecom Customers;
- PULP Testifies at State Senate Hearing on Telecom Taxes.
The tide may be beginning to turn.