Senate Rejects State VoIP Regulation
WASHINGTON, DC – In a crucial vote today, the Senate Commerce Committee rejected an attempt to restore significant state regulatory authority over Voice over IP services. Last week, the Committee had adopted, on a bipartisan 14-8 vote, an amendment from Sen. Sununu that codified FCC decisions holding that VoIP is an interstate service and limited state authority to consumer protection, child pornography, E911 and general state business law. Today, Sen. Dorgan offered an amendment to would have removed the Sununu provisions and opened VoIP up to a plethora of state regulation, including subsidy-laden intrastate access charges. Fortunately, the Committee rejected the Dorgan amendment by a 15-7 bipartisan vote.This vote is significant because it was just 2 years ago that this same Senate committee approved a similar Dorgan amendment by a slim margin. Today’s vote shows that the Senate has a growing appreciation for the value of VoIP and for the harm that overzealous state regulators could cause to a vibrant new broadband service.