VOIP: Be Very Afraid

VOIP: Be Very Afraid. Here's what Michael Powell had to say about voice over IP to the main cable industry trade show:

“If you're a big incumbent and you've sort of enjoyed a competitive advantage . . . you, in my opinion, ought to be terrified.”  

“I think it's going to be the very, very best and biggest breakthrough in our ambitions and dreams about competition ever.”

You tell 'em, Mike!  Seriously, Powell is dead-on here.  He understands what VOIP represents, and the significance of the regulatory issues it raises for the FCC.  As do the key FCC staffers, who I talk with periodically.

However, I've been disappointed that Powell's FCC has so far taken a nibbling, incremental approach to VOIP.  They are still putting off the hard issues, while addressing what look like easy cases.  In reality, those cases (like the AT&T petition the FCC recently denied) aren't so easy.  And the FCC's tentative, limited decisions will still be taken as definitive by those in the marketplace.  I'm convinced the FCC is committed to addressing the fundamental VOIP policy issues squarely, but that commitment needs to translate into action. 

A good indicator will be how quickly the FCC moves forward, either through formal decisionmaking or public activities, after the comment cycle on its major voice over IP proceeding closes at the end of June.  [Werblog]

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