FCC = Federal Coincidences Commission

from the one-song-of-happy-birthday-goes-a-long-way dept

The FCC took another step towards heavily regulating telephone replacement VoIP services, ruling that its providers must pay 7 percent of their revenues into the Universal Service Fund, a move which had been expected for some time. What makes the announcement a little more curious is that DSL providers won't have to pay into the fund after August, so, as Reuters puts it, "the FCC had to act to avoid a potential shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars." Funny how DSL providers -- otherwise known as telcos -- will no longer have to pay in, while at the same time, the VoIP companies that are stealing their voice subscribers get hit with what amounts to a 7 percent tax. Given the rather chummy relationship between the current commission and the big telcos, it's pretty hard to see this as a coincidence, but instead yet another sign of the FCC commissioner's double standards on regulation and continued protection of incumbent telcos.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 11:16am

    Put this way...

    A. Be strict and fair to everyone across the board.

    B. Look for the telcos that can line your pockets for years and years to come.

    Sure the honorable thing to do would be A. but considering all the money that B. offers I think you can tell which one they chose.

     

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  2.  
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    d.l., Jun 21st, 2006 @ 11:31am

    Since the telcos don't really sell standalone DSL, but mostly sell it bundled with POTS, the effect of removing DSL revenue from the contribution base is to reduce but not eliminate the telcos' USF obligations. They will still be paying on interstate POTS revenue (and their rates are generally much higher than the rates charged by VoIP providers) from their DSL customers.

    The most sensible approach is probably to assess USF on connections rather than revenue. The chairman of the FCC is supposedly interested in permanent reform that would mostly assess USF on telephone numbers. This would be an imperfect proxy for connections that would result in a good bit of strategic behavior (tax avoidance).

     

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  3.  
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    Trent, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    Sensible thing is to ban the FCC

    The easiest way to deregulate the telecom industry would be to remove all regulations. Every time the government has tried to "help" consumers it ends up hurting. Just pull the plug.

    First it was killing AT&T's competition - while passing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act no less - by deciding that telecom was a "natural monopoly" and a "public good." That killed competition outright until the 1960's.

    Then it was the half-assed freeing of the long-distance market by allowing MCI and Sprint to offer lower prices, but not allowing AT&T to do the same.

    Then it was the 1984 breakup of the bells, because after all, seven monopolies are better than one.

    Then it was the 1996 Act, that allowed companies to exploit legal loopholes to attract investor dollars that would have been better spent elsewhere.

    Why is it that every unregulated industry, from auto manufacturing to zit cream, is so competitive as to be brutal, while the regulated ones are monopolies? The answer is easy.

    "They should pass a law" is everyone's first reaction to any perceived injustice, and it always makes matters worse. But of course, things are so bad now they should pass a law. The one that abolishes all the other laws they have come up with over the years.

    Then nobody would be paying the Universal Service Fund, or the Spanish American War tax on long-distance, or what have you.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    ForkBoySpam, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    Shocked

    I am shocked by two things here:

    1) The Telcos yet again gain more power and money.

    2) Anonymus Coward hasn't posted on this yet :)

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:44pm

    so they arent even trying anymore

    not even going to try to keep up the illusion anymore

    just going to openly be corrupt..
    FCC is in bed with these telcos and no one is doing anything about it

    i tried to look up the word integrity in the dictionary...

     

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  6.  
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    Incredible Person with Brain makes comment, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    Incredible person with actual brain, knowing something of the actual situation makes statement of clarification, instantly demolishing arguments of reactionary half-wits who wrongly assume everything and everyone is out to screw them. Where did this person come from?

     

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  7.  
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    Roger McCook, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Put this way...

    This is the typical nonsensical type of no-brain activity that you'd expect and what the writer of such lame-brain articles hope to find . . .

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Roger McCook, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Sensible thing is to ban the FCC

    Ditto, man

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Roger McCook, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    Re: so they arent even trying anymore

    But you couldn't find a dictionary around the house and you weren't redally sure what to actually do if you found one so ...

     

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  10.  
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    Bob Hanes, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    FCC can go...

    The FCC can go FuCCk itself!!!

     

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  11.  
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    #10 is right, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Piece o' shit

     

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  12.  
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    Jim, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 1:21pm

    Anon, WHERE ARE YOU????

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    FCC is teh sukc... that is all.

     

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  14.  
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    Mr.E, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 1:46pm

    Couple Questions

    What happened to the days when a company would beat its rivals by offering a better product at a lower price, instead of buying political favor and influencing laws designed to squash or hinder said rivals?

    - My answer to this is that i don't think it ever happened. It's been so long I am starting to think it was all an induced dream I had in the 70's.

    What would happen if Microsoft were to convince that its OS is so broadly used that introducing any other OS would just further confuse the masses and hurt the industry as a whole, and that the should legislate against further non-MS OS's?

    - My answer to this would be that there would be a huge out cry of foul play and actions would be taken against MS to slap thier hands. In short, everyone would be all over it.

    So why is it any different with the Telcos? Why do the posters on boards such as this seem to be the only group that cares or pays attention to whats going on?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Put this way...

    How many corruption allegations and charges have been levelled against the government recently?

    You attack someone because they simply see that corruption is running amok in our system.

    I won't argue that TechDirt can't make up it's mind on this one: The telco's don't offer "naked" DSL, which means DSL users pay the USF fee on the phone lines. Yet the article seems to forget that point.

    Regulation built the monopolies and honest politicians could stop this from getting worse, but there are few honest politicians left. The day of the statesman is over.

     

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  16.  
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    rijit (profile), Jun 21st, 2006 @ 2:13pm

    wow

    Looks like it has all been said. A sad state indeed when the people of this great country, the USA, just sit and watch it all happen. O, they will post about it, blog it, discuss it but they, we, won't do anything about it. We will go back to the news an post elsewhere. Take a second and at least email your congress and senate and let them know what you think. Better yet, use the link to this comment thing and send them a link to your thoughts. If no one tells them, they don't know. Even the crooked politicians must listen when over half their constituents cry out at this this this... blah. Tell them you won't re-elect them if they don't do something. It could be a wasted effort, then again, with enough feedback, they will get the hint, do it right or go home. Take the time now, before your next news article.

     

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  17.  
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    rijit (profile), Jun 21st, 2006 @ 2:21pm

    Just in case

    In case you do not know who your representatives are, go here: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ or http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State= learn who they are and contact them.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    rijit (profile), Jun 21st, 2006 @ 2:23pm

    In case you do not know who your representatives are, go here:
    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
    or
    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=

    learn who they are and contact them

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 2:53pm

    VoIP is Available to more than DSL Customers

    As screwed up as the FCC is, and as much as I think Government involvement in anything other than keeping terrorists and other countries from trying to steal away the freedom our forefathers provided to us, the application of the USF to VoIP companies like Vonage, etc. does not remove the USF from Telcos...it simply adds another charge to a different service. Those of us who are Cable Modem subscribers without POTS lines are now going to have to start contributing to the USF as well.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 3:43pm

    $200 Billion

    Worth a read

    http://www.tispa.org/node/14

    Yes, the government's corrupt and in bed with big businesses. Look at campaign contributions, look at who's elected, and look what legislature they try to push.

    Now try to inform the everday citizen, and see if they even care. People in this country are fat, lazy and stupid, and until this mentality takes a 180 we're just going to keep electing more useless candidates. Just look at who's running for office in `08. The same meida whore's trying to milk as much attention as they can so the sells of their next book will go up. I pray for a revolution, however China will probably "reform" the US before any of it's own citizens will.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2006 @ 2:14am

    Re: Shocked

    You do realize that if you post without a name it comes up as Anon. Coward, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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