INGATE

SIP Trunking Featured Article

October 15, 2012


VoIP Providers Win Key Legislative Victory in California, Consumer Advocates Disappointed


By
SipTrunkingReport Contributor

A bill – strongly supported by the national telecom industry – was signed into law recently by California Gov. Jerry Brown that blocks most state regulations on VoIP communications.

AT&T and Verizon were among the big companies which supported the bill that restricts what the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) can do to direct the VoIP sector in the state. It basically leaves most types of regulation up to federal authorities.


Calif. State Sen. Alex Padilla, (D-Pacoima), who authored the bill, said SB 1161 was “critical to promoting investment in our internet infrastructure.”

“We will foster continued innovation and investment that is creating jobs in California and expanding options for consumers,” he added in a statement. He disagreed with vocal criticism by consumer advocates.

“SB 1161 preserves all federal and state consumer protections for VoIP, which include requirements to offer 911 service and pay 911 fees, make facilities accessible to disabled users, protect customer privacy, notify customers of battery backup power requirements, and report network outages, among others,” he claimed. “The bill also requires the…CPUC to respond to VoIP customer complaints, to provide customers information on all options for resolving them, and to report complaint data to the Legislature and the Federal Communications Commission so they can take appropriate action as the market evolves.”

VoIPReview.org added that telephone poles, wires and equipment facilities can be regulated by the CPUC.

But many consumer advocates were critical of the bill. State regulators, for example, are not reviewing price increases, nor reviewing any changes in quality standards, according to VoIPReview.org. In addition, the new law could lead to complete deregulation of landline services, warned the Utility Reform Network's executive director, Mark Toney.

“The bill cuts a huge swath out of the CPUC’s jurisdiction prospectively, leaving it with no ability to protect consumers in even the most basic ways,” the Utility Reform Network added in a statement made earlier this year. “The Commission could no longer enforce service quality and line maintenance standards.”

“VOIP is becoming the only option for increasing numbers of Californians, and eventually all basic phone service will be provided using VOIP,” Toney added.  “That means all customers, not just current VOIP customers, could lose their rights, and that the CPUC would be helpless to do anything about it.”

“This is a disaster for consumers,” according to statements made earlier this year by the Media Alliance. “Utility deregulation has proven a disaster over and over again, and yet the lobbying goes on.”

But it appears that sponsors of the bill don’t want to see growth in the VoIP sector hampered by regulators. Profits could be at risk. For instance, AT&T and Verizon saw a 29 percent jump in the number of VoIP customers in six months during 2011, according to Capitol Weekly. There are about 3.5 million interconnected VoIP subscriber lines in California, Capitol Weekly added – using data from the state Senate.

In addition, the California Cable & Telecommunications Association said the new law reaffirms “California's current policy of not regulating Internet-based services.” The bill was sponsored by TechAmerica, TechNet and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and was supported by QUALCOMM, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, the wider telecommunication industry, and the California Chamber of Commerce, according to the California Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The bill got national attention – and one critic, TMCnet’s Steve Anderson, claimed that VoIP is “simply incompatible with public regulation. Why? Because of its nature of constant change.”

The rules included in the new law remain in effect until 2020.




Edited by Braden Becker
Loading
Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.

Featured Case Studies

Case Study - Haiti
With this solution our doctors were able to reach anywhere in the world quickly and easily, to get consults from colleagues, facilitate treatment, order supplies 'on the fly' and also help victims report back to families. The solution from Business Mobility Systems and Ingate worked immediately.

Case Study - Turkish Petroleum
"With one Ingate at the customer headquarters, all of their remote workers can enjoy the benefits of Turkish Petroleum's IP-PBX from anywhere in the world.

Case Study - GCM
"The Ingate solution overcomes the NAT traversal hurdle and makes it possible to connect customers to our VoIP service, without the need of costly leased lines or support intensive VPN tunnels.

Case Study - Kool Smiles
"Ingate's solutions provide the advanced level of security necessary for this medical environment and the tools to make the interface to the service provider hassle-free."

Case Study - NMSAS
"This solution really saved the day for us," said Paul Mercier, IT Administrator, NMSAS. "We needed to leverage SIP trunks to reduce costs, and they had to work with our existing Microsoft OCS investment."

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.