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Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!
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You need some common sense.



Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...
Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...




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FCC Ruling Lifts Vonage


Vonage In Print News

FCC Ruling Lifts Vonage, But Concerns Linger For Voip

November 9, 2004

By Rex Crum

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- In what is considered a victory for Internet phone-service companies, the Federal Communications Commission ruled Tuesday that such services fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and not individual states.

However, industry analysts say that the decision remains a very top-level one, and leaves at least some long-term issues unanswered.

The unanimous FCC decision ruled that Internet phone service offered by Vonage Holdings would be labeled as interstate service, and thus subjected to federal oversight. Vonage had been disputing a Minnesota state attempt to have so-called voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, service treated as intrastate service that would fall under the regulations of each state's telecom guidelines.

The FCC ruling could have implications beyond Vonage's business: Consider cable television and phone companies, which are branching out to offer Voip service.

In delivering an opinion on the commission's decision, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said Voip service "has truly unique characteristics" such as building upon the global reach of the Internet, creating a more personal means of communication and offering a service that costs less than traditional phone services.

As the name implies, Voip service uses the Internet as a means to make telephone calls. Consumers use a special box that connects to their broadband Internet line and telephone to make calls, usually at prices far below those of traditional phone plans. Vonage, for example, offers unlimited calling of all types for $25 a month.

In a statement, Powell cited examples of how Vonage and AT&T (T) have cut their unlimited local and long-distance prices by $5 a month as a sign that Voip service is benefiting consumers.

"If we let competition and innovation rage, unencumbered by the high cost of regulation, consumers can expect more of the same -- lower prices, more choice and more innovative offerings," he said.

Vonage Chief Executive Jeffrey Citron echoed some of Powell's comments, saying in a statement that "because the FCC has acknowledged the reality of the Internet, which knows no state boundaries and no borders, more people will enjoy the benefits of Internet phone service."

Dianne Northfield, a program manager with the Yankee Group, said that while the FCC's ruling is important, "all it really says is that the states don't have jurisdiction."

Among the issues left open for review are whether Voip service providers will have to pay to connect their calls to traditional phone networks, the ability of states to tax Voip providers and whether Voip companies will have to help subsidize service to rural regions.

In a concurring opinion, Commissioner Michael Copps said that just because the FCC has called Voip an interstate service "does not mean that everything magically falls into place, the curtains are raised, the technology is liberated and all questions are answered."

In the short term, according to Yankee's Northfield, there is likely to be more growth of Voip operators, but the economic impact of the commission's decision won't be measurable until at least next year and items such as state tax rates begin to be assessed.



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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