US bill would free VoIP from regulation

Boost for new services

US Senator John Sununu (Rep. NH) is introducing legislation this week which would exempt VoIP from state laws and most regulation covering traditional voice calls.

The bill defines VoIP as an information service which should be regulated like other Internet services. The bill will also exempt VoIP providers from wiretapping.

The VoIP Regulatory Freedom Act restricts the ability of individual states to tax internet phone calls and restricts what regulation the Federal Communications Commission's freedom to regulate the new services. The FCC began looking at VoIP regulation in February.

The proposed legislation gives the FCC 180 days to propose alternative access fees and a way to deal with universal service fees - the way telcos subsidise phone access in rural and remote areas.

Charles Pickering Jr, a Mississippi Republican, is introducing a similar bill into the House of Representatives.

At&T welcomed both draft laws, desribing them as: "a strong vision for the future". ®

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