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Vonage In The News
Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

Carolyn Katz Elected to Board of Directors of Vonage Holdings Corp.

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Vonage vs. Time Warner Cable SoCal



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Vonage Pros and Cons for 2006
Vonage Pros and Cons for 2006



Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review
Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review



Salt Lake City: impressions after several months
Salt Lake City: impressions after several months




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FCC Chair Warns Of Regulation Of Internet Telephony


Vonage In Print News

December 2, 2003

By Harry Berkowitz

Washington -- Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell yesterday warned that heavy regulation could kill the emerging business of Internet-based telephone service.

"Regulatory medicine can be poison to an otherwise healthy technology," Powell said at the start of an FCC hearing on whether to impose rules, fees and taxes on the new services that exist on traditional phone services. "We want consumers to get the lower prices and innovation -- we don't want to mess it up," he added to reporters after the 1 1/2-hour forum.

The growth of Internet phone service, which is being offered for low, flat monthly fees by cable companies including Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable as well as independents such as Vonage Holdings, promises to shake up the $300 billion telecommunications industry with a new form of competition. It offers lower costs and greater flexibility to add features such as video conferencing and voice-enhanced online gaming, its providers say.

Powell said that rather than pursuing extensive regulation for the new technology, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), there seems to be a consensus forming to focus on four or five areas.

Those include the need to include emergency 911 service, give law enforcement agencies the ability to wiretap and trace calls, guarantee universal phone service and provide help to disabled phone users.

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, a Republican, said, "We need to move with a light touch." Some states, however, are worried that too light a touch will cost them billions of dollars.

California public utilities commissioner Carl Wood, representing the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said that just because they use new technology, Voip providers should not be exempt from rules such as those requiring payments for access to traditional phone connections, saying that would hurt most consumers. In contrast, Florida public service commissioner Charles Davidson called for a "hands-off approach," saying it would help spur investment in the technology and create jobs.

FCC commissioner Michael Copps, who as one of two Democrats on the five-member FCC has opposed some initiatives by the deregulation-minded Powell, added the issue of backup power as a key one but did not voice strong opposition to the chairman's approach. Unlike traditional phone services, Internet-based connections do not carry their own source of power to homes, and so shut down in a blackout.

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat, acknowledged the need to avoid actions that could "choke off this new technology in its crib" but called for the goals to become rules, saying "hands-off treatment could mean we are undermining the safety of consumers, law enforcement and national security."

Representatives of the industry said companies offering Voip are voluntarily moving toward meeting the key goals -- driven in part by market forces -- and so do not need to be forced. They announced a new timetable for complying with 911 requirements.

Vonage chief executive Jeffrey Citron said if regulations are imposed on VoIP, other Internet services such as e-mail and instant messaging may be next.

"It's monopoly that calls out for regulation -- we don't have that here," ' said Tom Evslin, chief executive of Voip provider ITXC and chairman of a coalition of Voip providers.

The FCC's task has been complicated by conflicting court decisions on regulating VoIP.



 
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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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