TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Internet VOIP Must Pay Into Subsidy Fund, Says FCC

Re: Internet VOIP Must Pay Into Subsidy Fund, Says FCC
22 Jun 2006 10:51:26 -0700

Jeremy wrote:

> The FCC ordered Internet telephone services like Vonage Holdings
> Corp. to contribute part of their revenue into the Universal Service
> Fund, which subsidizes phone service to rural and low-income areas as
> well as communications services and Internet access for schools,
> hospitals and libraries.

I am shocked that VOIP never had this obligation. (It was bad enough
they couldn't properly support 911). No wonder their pricing undercut
traditional landline carriers.

People get mad when the traditional landline carriers fight the
newcomers. But given this unfairness, can you blame them? The
landlines have various legacy mandates and the newcomers have none.

Maybe if the playing field was _truly_ level the so-called bargains by
the newcomers wouldn't exist.

> Companies offering long-distance and international telephone services
> as well as high-speed Internet service via digital subscriber lines
> (DSL) must currently contribute 10.9 percent of that revenue into the
> $7.3 billion fund.

10.9% seems awfully high. That's a lot of money.

> The FCC has been weighing broader reform of Universal Service Fund
> contributions for some time, and Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin
> has supported a charge based on telephone numbers.

I am not too big a fan of such unfunded mandates but I this way of
providing true universal is a tolerable idea. Serving low-income
customers isn't as easy as people think, however.

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May be in reply to: Jeremy Pelofsky, Reuters: "Internet VOIP Must Pay Into Subsidy Fund, Says FCC"
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