Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project
Order Granting motions to accept their late-filed Notices of Participation March 29, 2004
VoIP Industry Task Force Report March 30, 2004
["Staff" refers to the Staff of the PUC Telecommunications Department which is not necessarily the same as the State Commission itself]
1) Should VoIP be solely regulated at the interstate level?
STAFF: No. To the extent VoIP services, or some subset of VoIP services, are deemed telecommunications services, they should also be regulated at the intrastate level. Under Missouri law (Section 386.250(2), RSMo 2000), any telecommunications service, regardless of the technology utilized, is subject to this Commission's jurisdiction unless it falls within specific statutory exemptions set forth in Section 386.020(53). There is no such exemption for Voice Over Internet Protocol ("VoIP").
2) Is there an intrastate component to VoIP Telephony and if so, can it be separated to satisfy previous rulings by the FCC (Computer II and III, etc.)?
STAFF: Yes. Telecommunications service originating and terminating within a state's boundaries should be considered an intrastate telecommunications service regardless of how or where the traffic is routed. Using IP technology and/or routing calls through the internet should not change this basic concept. Staff acknowledges that determining the jurisdiction of a call has always been somewhat problematic as companies can currently rely on factors in determining jurisdictional usage. For instance, the use of PIU (percentage interstate usage) factors and interMTA (major trading area) factors are commonly used today for determining the jurisdiction of interexchange and wireless telecommunications traffic. Similar factors could be applied to VoIP telephony in determining an intrastate component. Such factors are usually based on limited traffic studies, analysis, or mutual agreement among the involved parties. Alternatively, jurisdiction could be based on technical considerations depending on what requirements, if any, might be placed on VoIP telephony. For example, technical requirements may eventually be developed and applied to make it possible to determine the origin of an IP originated call. Other ideas for determining jurisdiction may include: the point of interconnection, the point the call hits the public switched network or the switch port location for the NPA NXX. Such possible ideas have drawbacks; however, they may deserve further consideration for determining the jurisdiction of VoIP telephony.
3) Will the marketplace sufficiently discipline the conduct of VoIP providers towards consumer protection in the absence of regulation?
STAFF: At this time, no. The market is typically reactive and not proactive. The marketplace may eventually discipline the conduct of VoIP providers; however, consumers may be harmed before the market is able to effectively address problems. Society has placed an importance on high quality telecommunications services. Applying regulatory oversight to all providers regardless of technology ensures limited standards will be maintained, as well as, minimizes competitive advantages caused by different regulatory treatments.
4) Should VoIP be regulated differently than other information service providers?
STAFF: Yes. VoIP should be regulated differently than other information service providers. VoIP telephony is different than other information services because VoIP service may interconnect with the public switched telephone network as a replacement for traditional telecommunications service.
5) Will VoIP broadband service offer an alternative form of communication for traditional telephone subscribers, especially in rural markets and non-competitive markets where the ILEC has defacto monopoly status?
STAFF: Yes. Customers with broadband Internet access may find VoIP service, if available, to be an acceptable alternative form of communication. If the ILEC offers broadband Internet service only when combined with basic local service, some customers may still find VoIP service to be a more economical toll service.
7) Is VoIP really "phone" service?
STAFF: Yes. VoIP is typically a two-way connection that allows people to communicate. To the extent it offers the same or similar functions as traditional telecommunications services, or is a complement to POTS, it is "phone" service.
9) Should VoIP providers contribute to USF?
STAFF: Yes. VoIP providers should be required to contribute to USF regardless of whether VoIP is classified as a telecommunications service or an information service. Any provider using a portion of the public switched telecommunications network to originate and/or terminate voice calls should contribute to the USF.
10) Should VoIP providers be certificated?
STAFF: Yes. Currently Missouri statutes require any company providing telecommunications service in Missouri to have a certificate of service authority from the Missouri Public Service Commission. Shared tenant service providers and payphone providers are also required to be certificated. Such certification allows the state to have a record and contact information of those companies providing various types of services within the state. Certification also can allow a state commission to ensure minimum consumer protection rights are enforced.
11) Should VoIP providers be required to adhere to the same quality of service, tariff filing, directory listing, consumer safeguard, certification, and other standards and requirements expected of local exchange carriers?
STAFF: Yes. If a VoIP provider is found to be providing basic local exchange telecommunications service, the VoIP provider should be required to adhere to the same requirements of other providers of basic local exchange telecommunications service. If VoIP service is classified as an information service, certain standards should still be required and maintained.
12) Does the FCC's Pulver Order apply to services provided by other VoIP providers such as Nuvio and Vonage?
STAFF: No. The FCC, in its Memorandum Opinion and Order, limited its determinations to Pulver's "present FWD offering.only to the extent it facilitates free communications over the Internet between one on-line FWD member using a broadband connection and other on-line FWD members using a broadband connection.we specifically decline to extend our classification holdings to the legal status of FWD to the extent it is involved in any way in communications that originate or terminate on the public switched telephone network, or that may be made via dial-up access."
14) Should VoIP be subject to access charges/intercarrier compensation? If yes, how should the jurisdiction of the call be determined? (Should the jurisdiction be determined by customer's physical location, when it enters the PSTN, other?)
STAFF: Yes, however, the entire access charge/intercarrier compensation scheme needs to be reviewed. The FCC has an open docket specifically considering this issue. Ideally, intercarrier compensation rates should be based on the local exchange carrier's cost and applied to other carriers regardless of the technology used on a portion of the call. Reaching such an idealistic state may be difficult to achieve. In regard to determining a call's jurisdiction, see response to Issue No. 2.
15) Should interconnection rights and access to telephone numbers and UNEs be extended to VoIP providers?
STAFF: Yes. Any provider offering basic local exchange telecommunications service should have interconnection rights and access to telephone numbers and UNEs. If VoIP service is classified as an information service and not a telecommunications service, then Staff would not expect the VoIP provider to have direct access to some of these items. Nevertheless, Staff anticipates VoIP providers may simply develop affiliated companies that technically offer basic local exchange telecommunications service in order to gain such access. Some internet service providers use such a process today. This type of process may not be entirely efficient; however, Staff is unsure of how to draw the line on obtaining interconnection rights, access to telephone numbers and UNEs unless the provider is offering basic local exchange telecommunications service.
16) Are there transiting traffic issues associated with VoIP traffic?
STAFF: Yes. There will always be transiting traffic issues in situations where a terminating carrier may apply different terminating rates and the terminating carrier is unable to readily determine the proper carrier to bill and the carrier's billable jurisdictional traffic.
17) Should ILECs be required to provide IP interconnections at the tandem level?
STAFF: Yes. If a carrier is providing telecommunications service and accepts responsibilities associated with interconnecting at the tandem, then such interconnection should be allowed.
18) Should VoIP providers be required to provide 9-1-1 emergency telephone service?
STAFF: Yes. All entities providing basic local exchange telecommunications service should provide 9-1-1 service. If VoIP telephony is classified as an information service, then VoIP providers should still be required to provide 9-1-1 service.
19) Should VoIP providers contribute financially to existing/future 9-1-1 systems?
STAFF: Yes. All providers, including VoIP providers, who provide basic local telecommunications service should be subject to the same financial requirements for supporting existing/future 9-1-1 systems. If VoIP telephony is classified as an information service, then VoIP providers should still be required to contribute financially to 9-1-1 systems.
20) Should VoIP providers have access to the selective routers for 9-1-1 purposes?
STAFF: Yes. Anyone providing basic local exchange telecommunications service should have access to the selective routers. If VoIP telephony is classified as an information service, then VoIP providers should still have access to selective routers on the basis that Staff expects the VoIP provider to provide 9-1-1 service.
21) Are there homeland security issues related to VoIP? CALEA? Patriot Act?
STAFF: Yes. The FCC is expected to consider issues related to CALEA and the Patriot Act in a VoIP environment in future proceedings. The FCC is currently considering a petition to open a rulemaking to address these issues.
23) Will the widespread use of Virtual NXXs contribute to premature numbering exhaust?
STAFF: Yes. Virtual NXX may have an impact on premature numbering exhaust; however, the practical impact of Virtual NXX is unclear. Premature number exhaust can be affected by many other factors besides Virtual NXX usage. In addition, Virtual NXX usage should not be solely attributed to VoIP providers. For example, other providers such as Internet service providers, may also use Virtual NXXs. Recent telephone number conservation efforts have significantly helped to alleviate premature number exhaustion in many areas.
24) What authority, if any, does the MoPSC have over the issuance/administration of telephone numbers to LECs and VoIP providers?
STAFF: Some state commissions have authority over the issuance/administration of telephone numbers. In CC Docket 99-200, NSD File No. L-99-90, the FCC granted the Missouri Commission's petition for additional delegated authority to implement number conservation measures. The FCC gave the Missouri Commission the authority to order the return of unused and reserved NXX codes, to monitor the use of numbering resources through the use of mandatory reporting requirements and number utilization forecasting, to require sequential number assignments, set and establish number assignment and NXX code allocation standards (including the requirement that carriers meet certain fill rates prior to obtaining additional numbering resources). In another FCC decision, in CC Docket No. 99-200, NSD File No. L-01- 275, the FCC granted the Commission the authority to implement thousand-block pooling trials, to reclaim unused and underused thousands-blocks, to audit a carriers' use of numbering resources, to order the submission of utilization and forecast data from all carriers including wireless providers and to audit such reporting and order sequential number assignments.
In the Matter of an Investigation of Voice Over Internet Protocol and Virtual NXX Telephony, Case No. TO-2004-0172, Order Denying Motion to Open Case (Nov. 4th, 2003) (denying staff's motion to open case because issues are currently contested in Case No. LA-2004-0133)
Case No. LA-2004-0133
Application of Time Warner Cable Information Services (Missouri), LLC, d/b/a Time Warner Cable, for authority to provide local exchange and interexchange voice (VoIP) services in portions of Missouri) - Order Setting Prehearing Conference. Updated 12/30/03.
Notice Closing Case April 1, 2004 ("On March 2, 2004, the Commission issued an order granting a certificate to provide basic local, local exchange and interexchange telecommunications service to Time Warner Cable Information Services (Missouri) LLC. ")
Minutes of Agenda Meeting - case discussed
Order Granting Certification March 2, 2004
On September 12, 2003, Time Warner Cable Information Services (Missouri), LLC, filed an Application for a Certificate of Service Authority to provide local and interexchange voice telecommunications services within the state of Missouri, and for competitive classification. On September 23, 2003, the Missouri Public Service Commission issued its Notice of Applications for Intrastate Certificates of Service Authority and Opportunity to Intervene, establishing October 8 as the deadline for intervention with regard to interexchange services and October 23, as the deadline for intervention with regard to local exchange. Because Time Warner sought to provide services involving aspects of Voice over Internet Protocol, applications to intervene were filed by a number a parties wishing to be included in a general discussion of the subject. On November 4, 2003, the Commission granted the applications and set the matter for prehearing conference. Prior to the prehearing conference additional applications to intervene were filed out of time and granted by the Commission. As a result of the prehearing conference, the parties and the Commission realized that the services Time Warner sought to provide did not merit a broad discussion of Voice over Internet Protocol. In light of this realization, the Commission established a separate case, Case No. TW?2004?0324, for the purpose of investigating issues surrounding Voice over Internet Protocol.
Rural carriers worry about VoIP disconnecting access fees Bizjournals Feb 2004
Missouri PSC opens study of VoIP Bizjournals Feb 2004
Trials and Market Deployments
Time Warner Cable Information Service
St. Louis AT&T Broadband VoIP field trial St. Louis Putting VoIP to the Crash Test, CED May 2002
Trial to "friendly customers" Cablecos Set Sights on VoIP, Xchange February 1, 2004
St. Louis Charter Launch 2002 Merrill Lynch, Everything Over IP (March 12, 2004)
Tampering with computer users, penalties.
Missouri Code § 569.099. 1. A person commits the crime of tampering with computer users if he knowingly and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he has such authorization:
(1) Accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, or computer network; or
(2) Denies or causes the denial of computer system services to an authorized user of such computer system services, which, in whole or in part, is owned by, under contract to, or operated for, or on behalf of, or in conjunction with another.
2. The offense of tampering with computer users is a class A misdemeanor unless the offense is committed for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or to obtain any property, the value of which is five hundred dollars or more, in which case tampering with computer users is a class D felony.
- Mont. Code Ann. § 46-5-110(1)(a); .requiring law enforcement to apply for a search warrant to obtain this data.