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Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act and VoIP

The Cox-Wyden Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act passed the House last month, and will go before the Senate as early as next week. As c | net reports today ("Senate to ponder permanent Net access tax ban"), this could be more good news for the VoIP industry: "In a nutshell, information services and telecommunications services are beginning to look alike, leaving many parties trying to figure out the benefits and consequences of an unregulated Internet." Kevin Werbach, former Counsel for New Technology Policy at the FCC, has an informative post analyzing the VoIP-related issues confronting the FCC. A sample:

If the legal requirements change when an end user swaps a computing device labeled "phone" for one labeled "computer," the rules will fail. The real issue here is that basic voice service is going to be deregulated. There is no way to put the VOIP genie back into the bottle without destroying it.

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