The Cable Companies will get help from FCC about Consumer Protection Rules
There is a question, whether the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a telecommunication service or an information service. It has been considered a major question and a dispute between the MPUC (Minnesota Public Utilities Commission) and FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Point to be noted that the FCC takes measures to help cable company Charter to prevent state consumer protection rules. It is due to FCC has never authoritatively settled the VoIP regulatory status. It would be subject to harsh state rules if it regarded as a telecommunication service rather than a soft regulated information service. In the current case, the MPUC needs Charter to gather fees from customers to participate in state programs in helping the poor and hearing-impaired access telephone services. It would allow their customers to appeal to MPUC in the event of any kind of dispute.
Charter with the support of the FCC, is now trying to stop this. The case has been forwarded to the U.S Federal Court of Appeals which could provide final clarification on the regulatory status of VoIP. Charter has found support from a number of other telecom companies, such as Verizon, AT&T and U.S Telecom. It claims that avoiding the utility regulation of VoIP promotes continued competition and conclusively provides benefits to customers. Consumer groups argue that a Charter victory would mark the loss of protection that guarantees universal access to basic telephone services at reasonable prices. The VoIP service provision might not come with less protection due to it has provided in a different way to traditional landlines.