CompTel’s Petition focuses on enterprise VoIP providers, specifically requesting clarification that interconnected VoIP providers providing non-nomadic T1 equivalent services that already include E911 need not comply with the obligations set out in the FCC's VoIP E-911 Order.
The NENA/VON Coalition Petition requested clarification on a variety of issues including, (1) Master Street Address Guide validation, and (2) the use of contractual limitations disallowing the customer from moving their VoIP service.
T-Mobile’s Petition focuses on obtaining ALI information automatically, as opposed to the requirement that customers provide such information.
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) does not enhance law enforcement’s ability to eavesdrop; purpose is for law enforcement to maintain its ability to engage in lawful intercepts
September 23, 2005 , FCC releases CALEA Order and NPRM, effective November 14, 2005. VoIP providers and facilities-based broadband Internet access providers must comply with CALEA requirements by May 14, 2007 .
Facilities-based providers of broadband Internet access must comply with CALEA regardless of their classification as an “information” service under the Telecommunications Act.
The FCC determined that CALEA applies to “interconnected VoIP services” meaning those VoIP services that: (1) enable real-time, two-way voice communications; (2) require a broadband connection from the user’s location; (3) require IP-compatible customer premises equipment; and (4) permit users to receive calls from and terminate calls to the PSTN. Also, a VoIP provider is subject to CALEA if it offers the capability for users to receive calls from and terminate calls to the PSTN, even those VoIP services that do not involve the PSTN regardless of how the interconnected VoIP provider facilitates access to and from the PSTN, whether directly or through arrangements with a third party .
The appeal does not challenge the right of law enforcement to intercept Internet communications; rather, challenges the extension of CALEA to VoIP and facilities-based broadband Internet access services.
Appellants believe that Congress should step in and craft a different approach for Internet communications.
Relevant jurisdiction (state or municipality) may assess 911 fees or surcharges on providers of telephone service
Fees are not insubstantial – can exceed $1 per month per “line”
Query – are these 911 fees and surcharges applicable to VoIP?
State / Local Taxes
If nexus established, VoIP provider will have to collect and remit taxes in all jurisdictions where nexus exists Telecom taxes arguably inapplicable to VoIP. Certain taxing authorities have taken the position that telecom taxes are applicable to VoIP (e.g., Illinois) or are amending statutes to include VoIP (e.g., Pennsylvania).
Amendments being made to extend telecom taxes to VoIP, so may have to pay in the future where nexus exists
Merger Conditions Imposed on SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI
On October 31, 2005, the FCC approved the mergers of SBC with AT&T and Verizon with MCI.
Within one year , the merged companies will be required to offer “naked” DSL . Naked DSL condition sunsets 2 years from the “implementation” date (i.e., the date from when the merged entities can offer naked DSL in 80% of their ADSL-capable premises within a particular state)
The merged companies committed, for two years , to conduct business in a manner that comports with the FCC’s September 23, 2005 net neutrality policy statement on the Internet and Internet-based services.
FCC will require the merged companies, for three years , to continue settlement-free peering with as many providers of Internet backbone services as they currently peer with.
California will require SBC to offer stand-alone DSL as of February 28, 2006 and Verizon must offer beginning January 31, 2006.
House Broadband Internet Transmission Service (“BITS”) bill
Registration – Would require VoIP providers to file registration statement “within 30 days after commencing to offer BITS,”
Net Neutrality – Would require providers to not block, impair, or interfere with the access to, or use of any lawful content, application or service.
Interconnection – Would require parties to negotiate rates, terms, and conditions of exchange of traffic shall be negotiated by the parties, subject to the remedies provided by the Act.
911 and E911 - Would bifurcate treatment of VoIP services depending on whether the service is a “send and receive provider” (must provide E911) or a “receive-only” provider (must provide only basic 911, notify subscribers of unavailability of E911).
Number Portability - VoIP providers would get direct access to numbers, must provide number portability in accordance with FCC regulations.
Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act ( Ensign Bill)
Preempt state and local regulation of telecom and cable, and eliminate many of the requirements in Title I (general), Title II (common carrier), and Title VI (cable systems) of the existing Telecom Act.
Would retain provisions dealing with enforcement, CALEA, and access for the disabled, among other provisions.
It would be unlawful to deny a consumer access to any content provided over broadband facilities unless the content is illegal, denial is authorized by Federal or state law, or such content is inconsistent with the service plan. A broadband service provider would not be able to prevent a customer form using VoIP provided by a competitor.
All communications service providers using telephone numbers would be required to provide number portability within 5 days of the request.
The FCC would be prohibited from taking any action to impede the development of seamless mobility, which is defined as the ability of a consumer to move easily and smoothly among Internet-protocol enabled technology platforms, facilities and networks.
ANI – Automatic Number Identification (call-back information)
ALI – Automatic Location Information
CALEA – Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
Enhanced 911 – emergency service where the caller’s telephone number and location information are automatically delivered to the emergency operator.
ILEC – Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier
Interconnected VoIP Provider (IVP) – term used by the FCC to define what kind of VoIP provider is subject to E911 obligations. Also used by the FCC to define which type of VoIP providers are subject to CALEA. An IVP is a VoIP service that (1) allows real-time two-way voice communications; (2) requires a broadband Internet connection;(3) requires specialized CPE; and (4) permits users to originate and terminate calls to and from the PSTN.