To prevent any type of regulation of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 1161 last Thursday. The bill was introduced in April by Senator Alex Padilla (D- Los Angeles), who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications.
According to the VORZY report, the bill has been sent to Governor Jerry Brown for approval. The report indicates that if this bill was signed by the Governor, it would become a law. And, thereby, prohibit the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from enacting any law or ordinance to regulate VoIP services until January 1st, 2020.
The California Senate bill prohibits, “any department, agency, commission, or political subdivision of the state from enacting, adopting, or enforcing any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, standard, order, or other provision having the force or effect of law.” The bill was supported by organizations like TechAmerica, TechNet, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
The report quoted TechNet senior vice president, Jim Hawley, as saying, “The Legislature’s action today will preserve California’s leadership in consumer protection and privacy, while providing the certainty needed to sustain investment, job growth and California’s economic leadership in this important sector.” He further added, “This legislation will bolster an already flourishing sector in the Golden State’s economy that is delivering compelling new services, choices, and benefits for consumers.”
Although, the bill was backed by the telecom industry and high-tech companies, it found some opposition in the consumer groups and labor unions. Those groups opposed to this bill think it neither gives customers enough protection, nor the ability to lodge complaints about services.
Nevertheless, the report indicates that this bill passed the Assembly in a 63-12 vote. “If signed by Governor Brown, California will become the 25th state to enact legislation stating that VoIP services are not in the domain of state level legislation,” stated the report.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman