Classification of VoIP services in the USA

This summary addresses the issue of whether VoIP is subject to common carrier obligations as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act or whether VoIP is largely free from federal regulation as an information service under Title I. The United States Congress has passed several regulatory acts to prevent states from exercising regulatory authority over new Internet services, thereby giving the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) jurisdiction over VoIP services. Pursuant to such expanded authority over VoIP services, the FCC it has issued several declaratory rulings on VoIP services and has made several reports on the classification of different varieties of VoIP services to Congress. The most important regulatory issue is whether the FCC should classify VoIP as an “information service,” a “telecommunications service” or as a hybrid of the two categories.

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