INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES, including Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other IP-enabled applications, products, and services that consumers access over broadband and the Internet are a force for increased competition, a platform for innovation, and a driver of broadband deployment. The Internet communications industry has also delivered substantial consumer benefits and cost savings, sustained economic growth, and robust job creation. A federal policy framework that refrains from applying traditional telecom regulation to Internet communications products has enabled Internet communications technologies to flourish.
The Coalition recognizes that there are important social policy issues in which the FCC and state regulators have a legitimate role. The Internet communications community will continue to work constructively on such issues, including providing access to those with disabilities, access to emergency services, cooperation with law enforcement, secure funding for universal service, and reform of inter-carrier compensation. These legitimate concerns can be addressed without imposing heavy regulation on Internet communications. The Coalition supports efforts to address these issues and advocates the following:
Consumer Empowerment. The Coalition believes consumers have a right to lawfully use the Internet communications products of their choice.
Resonable Network Management. The Coalition supports the continued operation of the Internet as an open platform for innovation, commerce and speech. The Coalition also recognizes that carriers and network operators have a legitimate interest in engaging in reasonable network management techniques that may vary across different types of platforms (e.g., wireless, fixed line). The Coalition supports industry-defined network management best practices, which protect a consumer’s right to use the Internet communications applications of their choice balanced against other reasonable network management concerns.
Universal Service. The Coalition supports the transition of the current PSTN support mechanisms to a fund that supports broadband deployment and adoption.
Inter-carrier Compensation. To provide appropriate incentives for carriers to migrate to all IP broadband networks, The Coalition supports elimination of per-minute charges for the exchange of voice traffic on the PSTN. Instead, carriers should be able to recover their costs from end-users and, in limited circumstances, from an explicit broadband subsidy.
FCC Role. The Coalition believes that VoIP should be classified as an information service and regulated only to the extent necessary pursuant to the Commission’s Title I or ancillary jurisdiction.
State Role. The Coalition believes that role of the states in the regulation of Internet communications should be consistent with the international and interstate nature of the Internet and recognizes the practical problems that would be caused by varying state regulation.
Emergency Services. The Coalition supports the deployment of IP-based next-generation emergency services solutions to enable the delivery of enhanced information to emergency services personnel.
Law Enforcement. The Coalition works cooperatively with law enforcement regarding CALEA compliance issues. The Coalition will continue to work with regulators and legislators as they consider any updates deemed necessary to CALEA and related data retention requirements.
Other Important Social Policy Goals. The Coalition advocates its member’s interests on issues such a disabilities access, privacy mandates, data retention obligations and any other such issue as are necessary from time to time. The Coalition believes that self-governance in these areas is preferable to burdensome government mandates.