FCC Says Rural Telcos Have To Play Nice With VoIP

from the right-for-once dept

While much of the debate about net neutrality has focused on big telcos like AT&T and Verizon (in no small part because their execs have been the most vocal about how service and content providers should have to pay them), one of the few areas where net neutrality and service-blocking has been an actual problem has been with smaller telcos and VoIP services. Fingers have been pointed at the big carriers, but it was a small rural carrier that was fined for blocking Vonage, while small wireless ISP Clearwire also tried to block it. While it’s not directly about net neutrality, in a related issue, Time Warner Cable had complained to the FCC that some rural carriers in South Carolina and Nebraska — which generally have a monopoly on local landline service — had refused to connect calls from its VoIP subscribers, making it rather difficult for the company to offer a competitive service in the areas. The local telcos’ argument was that the FCC hasn’t treated VoIP like a telecom service, so they weren’t required to treat it like one and connect the calls, which were being routed through wholesale providers like Verizon, and local regulators had backed them up. But despite the FCC’s general treatment of VoIP as an ugly duckling, it ruled this week that the rural telcos must connect the calls and allow VoIP providers access to local phone numbers, so they can offer them to their subscribers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, in a statement about the ruling (PDF alert), says that the Commission “must promote competition… and create a level playing field” — that’s really little more than double-speak, but in this instance, it made the right call.


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “FCC Says Rural Telcos Have To Play Nice With VoIP”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
1 Comment

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...