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FCC Chairman Supports Regulation-Free Internet

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

03 December 2003


Speaking at a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearing on Monday, FCC chairman, Michael K. Powell expressed his support for the drive to maintain "an internet free from government regulation".

The one day hearing was staged for the purposes of determining what level of taxation and regulation should be applied to the burgeoning Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) sector, which allows users to make low cost telephone calls via the internet.

"No regulator, either federal or state, should tread into this area without an absolutely compelling justification for doing so," the FCC chief announced, continuing:

"Innovation and capital investment depend on this premise. The entrepreneurs seated before us depend on this premise. In my view we should come to this forum with a sense of respectful humility, mindful that (it) is the entrepreneurs, not governments, who came up with the idea of making high-quality, inexpensive phone calls over the internet."

The general consensus of the meeting was that online telephone services should be treated as interstate businesses, and thus exempted from local telephone access charges. However, the consultation process regarding VoIP is far from over, and the FCC is expected to take up to a year to gather additional information on the issue, and to hear public comment.


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