Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Judge Slams State Attempts To Regulate VoIP

from the and-so-it-goes... dept

Here's a followup to last week's story where a federal judge told Minnesota that they couldn't regulate Vonage as a phone company. Today, the judge finally issued the official ruling complete with the explanation of why the ruling was made. He points out that federal law clearly prohibits regulating information services, and thus VoIP providers need to be left alone. This will likely cause problems in the various other states that have been sneaking in attempts to regulate Vonage and their competitors. On the whole, this is a good ruling. It recognizes that the network is just a network and just because you use a certain application at the end of it that appears similar to a centralized system, it's not the same. The interesting thing to watch now, however, is how the traditional phone companies will respond. For a while, they've been denying that they're in competition with the VoIP guys, but sooner or later they need to admit that's not true. Already, some are talking about offering their own VoIP solutions. Will this ruling speed up those plans, as it also gives them a way to cut out from under the regulation load?

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