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University of New Hampshire Law Review

Abstract

[Excerpt] "The rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) services “means nothing less than the death of the traditional telephone business,”1 as the ability to make free calls over a high-speed Internet connection in the future “undermines the existing pricing model for telephony.”2 This disruptive, convergent technology is blurring the boundary between Internet services and telephone services because VoIP functions like the traditional telephone system, but travels as ones and zeros through a broadband Internet connection. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has questioned whether to classify VoIP as an information service, generally free from FCC regulation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996,3 or as a telecommunication service, subject to a comprehensive regulatory regime and common carrier obligations.4" connection. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has questioned whether to classify VoIP as an information service, generally free from FCC regulation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996,3 or as a telecommunication service, subject to a comprehensive regulatory regime and common carrier obligations.4 While the FCC is struggling to classify various types of VoIP services within its regulatory framework established in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the rest of the nation is debating whether states have the authority to regulate or to tax VoIP providers. In Vonage Holdings Corp. v. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission,5 the FCC and the United States District Court of Minnesota recently recognized that Vonage’s VoIP service is an information service, and as such, cannot be regulated by the states.6 The court in Vonage, however, did not decide whether states have the authority to tax VoIP services.7 Furthermore, the enactment of and

Repository Citation

Kate Winstanley, What’s the Hang Up? The Future of VoIP Regulation and Taxation in New Hampshire, 4 PIERCE L. REV. 531 (2006). Available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol4/iss3/8

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