Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Corporate Evasion of Government Regulation in the USA by Switching from Landline Phones to Voice over IP: Net Neutrality and the Law

You read our previous posting, right? If not, you definitely should.

If you read this one, you will better understand our criticism of the decision in Verizon v. FCC of the responsible judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, who apparently are not aware of what is going on in the real world.

At Stop the Cap! Promoting Better Broadband, Fighting Data Caps, Usage-Based Billing, & Other Internet Overcharging Schemes
one can read that already in 2012, AT&T had understood the legal and practical ramifications of the stealth-of-hand "switch" from landline phones to Voice over IP as a quick and clever means to avoid federal regulation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Stop the Cap! put into a nutshell in the year 2012 what the DC Circuit in its opinion of 2014 has difficulty in expressing, namely:
"Basic landline service is designated a “telecommunications service” by the FCC, which makes it subject to regulator review. Broadband, on the other hand, and anything else using IP, is typically classified as an “information service,” where most oversight regulations do not apply."
The DC Circuit judges would like to have the world believe that Verizon v. FCC is a case that turns on a twisted FCC self-imposed and foolishly Supreme Court deferred-to definition of what a "common carrier" is in terms of the law, but in fact, in the real world, there is hardly a difference between what traditionally was called a phone company and what now is a broadband provider via VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)  -- as written at the FCC:
"Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

IP-Enabled Services

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number - including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers. Also, while some VoIP services only work over your computer or a special VoIP phone, other services allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter.

Frequently Asked Questions
How VoIP / Internet Voice Works

VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination. VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. In addition, wireless "hot spots" in locations such as airports, parks, and cafes allow you to connect to the Internet and may enable you to use VoIP service wirelessly."
Given the above knowledge, for the courts in a pea-and-shell game now to take the ball and move it onto another field under the guise that there is a significant difference here for purposes of federal government regulation is just nonsense, and makes a mockery of the law.

No excuse. These are educated people who should know better.

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