Today was apparently FCC chairman Kevin Martin's birthday -- and he celebrated it by having a bunch of big telco execs sing him "Happy Birthday" (you wonder, did they get the rights first?). Then, to return the favor, he gave them all a few birthday presents. First, he said that taxing VoIP systems was a good idea -- something his predecessor was vehemently against, but which the big telcos all endorse, because they're unable to compete as well against VoIP systems. So, rather than looking for ways to actually compete, they want VoIP providers to have to deal with additional taxes as well. Of course, as the article notes, these taxes will go towards the Universal Service Fund -- which has faced numerous mismanagement and fraud charges. Then, to make the telcos even happier, he claimed he sees no reason to push for network neutrality rules, because he doesn't see any evidence that there's a problem. This comes just shortly after both BellSouth and
SBC AT&T made it clear that they're looking to give preferential treatment to their own services, while potentially looking to charge any other service provider. It would seem that the small independent telcos and broadband providers should maybe swing by Martin's office to sing him some tunes as well.
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