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FCC strikes against VoIP blocking

Powell wants to be VoIP enforcer

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Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell backed enforcement action to protect VoIP traffic as the agency yesterday announced a settlement with a carrier that blocked internet users’ voice calls.

Local telco Madison River LLC has pledged to refrain from blocking VoIP calls over its network and ensure that such blocking “will not recur”. It will also pay $15,000 to the US treasury as part of the settlement.

The FCC chief has struck an anti regulation stance during his tenure. In a statement yesterday, he backed an “enforcement context” to preserve “net freedom”. He claimed this would “ensure hypothetical worriers (sic) give way to concrete facts and — as we have shown today — real solutions.”

The burgeoning VoIP industry may take some comfort from Powell’s pledge to use the FCC’s enforcement unit to chase down VoIP blockers. Longer term though, they might prefer a blanket prohibition to case by case action.

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