U.S. VoIP firms ordered to pay into USF

June 22, 2006

U.S. Voice over Internet Protocol providers have been ordered to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.

The ruling issued by the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday stated that nearly 65 percent of VoIP revenues were of the interstate variety, which qualifies them for the fund that subsidizes phone service in poor and rural areas.

Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement that the ruling was an example of competitive neutrality that did not discriminate between Internet and traditional telephony.

"Like public safety goals, universal service obligations transcend new technologies and cannot be compromised," he said.

The VoIP industry, however, declared the ruling to be a run-up to taxation as a means of boosting USF revenues -- and could also open the door to state taxation as well.

Stacy Pies, president of the Voice on the Net Coalition, told the Web site LightReading that the decision ran counter to a 2005 ruling that held the Internet was an information system and not a telecommunications system, which should mean that VoIP was not a telecom system subject to USF contributions.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Can phone companies do more to block robocalls?

Related Stories

Can phone companies do more to block robocalls?

April 7, 2015

Jeri Vargas put her elderly mother on the "Do Not Call" list years ago. So why is the 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease still getting several recorded phone calls a day pitching her everything from vacation cruises ...

US eyes phase-out of old telephone network

November 29, 2013

America's plain old telephone network is rapidly being overtaken by new technology, putting US regulators in a quandary over how to manage the final stages of transformation.

Encrypted VoIP not as secure as it sounds

May 26, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Linguistics researchers working with computer scientists at the University of North Carolina have shown that voice conversations over the Internet, even if they are encrypted, are not as secure as generally ...

Signing contracts on the telephone

January 27, 2010

Internet telephony has developed from a niche product into standard technology in recent years. Most telephone providers switched their background technology to Voice over IP, or VoIP for short, long ago. BITKOM, the German ...

Recommended for you

Toyota promises better mileage and ride with Prius hybrid

October 13, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. released details for its fourth-generation Prius on Tuesday, promising that improvements in the battery, engine, wind resistance and weight mean better mileage for the world's top-selling hybrid car.

Facebook to test mobile app shopping tab

October 12, 2015

Facebook said Monday that it will begin testing a shopping tab for its mobile app as it works to ramp up advertising and online commerce offerings.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.