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Friday, October 31, 2008

IP telephony finds a home?

I'm not a big FCC wonk, since most of what they do doesn't affect my clients, so I just scanned through the announcement concerning a Nov. 4th FCC meeting, looking for anything about E-Rate. First question: is the FCC trying to make the text opaque, or are they just incapable of writing clearly?

Anyway, two things caught my eye, both under the first item on the list:
  1. "IP-enabled services": Could it be that the FCC is finally going to decide if IP telephony is a telecommunications service or information service? Why should we care? Well, the reason that IP telephony is under "Miscellaneous" on the Eligible Services List is that the FCC doesn't want to put it into either telecom or Internet services until it's decided the big question of whether it's a telecom service (and highly regulated) or an information service (and much less regulated). Maybe IP-enabled telephony will finally find a home on the ESL.
  2. "The Commission will consider a Report and Order, Order on Remand, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the comprehensive reform of intercarrier compensation and universal service." The failure to mention Docket 02-6 anywhere in the preceding jumble of issues makes me think they're not talking about taking action on the comprehensive E-Rate NPRM released in June 2005, or the request for comments on E-Rate Central's ideas about Equipment disposal released in November 2006, or even the NPRM on suggested changes to the Eligible Services List released in August 2008. Maybe "comprehensive" is a relative term.

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