FCC Backs Charter in VoIP Case

The Federal Communications Commission has weighed in with a federal court to support Charter's challenge to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's application of legacy Title II telecom regulations to its interconnected VoIP phone service. The case is being heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Minnesota. "The Minnesota PUC has adopted a blunderbuss approach to VoIP regulation that threatens to disrupt the national voice services market," the FCC's legal team says. In an amicus brief in support of Charter, the FCC said that Minnesota's attempts to apply the "full panoply" of Title II-based legacy phone regulations on Charter's advanced VoIP service does not square with FCC precedent, which it argues the PUC has misinterpreted, or perhaps mischaracterized, and "and raises serious questions as to whether the PUC Order can be squared with the federal regulatory scheme." The FCC has so far declined to classify interconnected VoIP--two-way TDM-based phone service that connects to the public switched phone network--is an information service not subject to common carrier regs, or a telecommunications service that is. Instead, it has dealt with various issues that arose in rulings on, among other things, access charges, universal service contributions, privacy protections, accessibility requirements and the veritable host of others.


FCC Backs Charter in VoIP Case