Policy Forum

Will Internet Telephony Bring About a Revolution in Telecom Policy?

September 9, 2003 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT

Auditorium/Wintergarden

Featuring J. Scott Marcus, Federal Communications Commission; Link Hoewing, Verizon; Brad Ramsay, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; Marilyn Cade, AT&T; and Jeff Pulver, Pulver.com.

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Many Internet engineers and technologists have long dreamed about a day when voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, or “Internet telephony,” would supplement if not totally supplant, traditional analog, circuit‐​switched communications networks. This dream may soon become a reality as the VoIP service has blossomed and is increasingly being used by consumers to bypass traditional phone lines and regulations. The revolutionary impact of VoIP has not gone unnoticed by policy makers, however, as discussions are underway at the federal and state level about how to regulate Internet telephony as it grows more popular. Should VoIP be treated like traditional telecommunications services and regulated and taxed accordingly, or is a new regulatory regime in order? And can VoIP be regulated at all given the ubiquitous nature of Internet communications? These issues will be discussed by a diverse panel of industry experts.