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FCC chief: regulating Internet phones may backfire
Posted: 10-Jan-2004 [Source: Reuters via Yahoo]

[A major danger, he (FCC Chairman Powell) said, is people saying "'Oh VoIP, it's just telephony. It looks like a duck; it quacks like a duck; regulate it like a duck.'"]

By Ben Berkowitz, Las Vegas -- "Rapidly expanding voice communications over the Internet should be protected from excessive government regulation and from being pigeonholed as traditional phone service, the top U.S. telecommunications regulator said on Friday.

Harm from misregulation of Internet phone service could take "decades to fix," said Federal Communications Commission (News - Websites) Chairman Michael Powell, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show here. "You (can) create a very hostile regulatory environment for voice-over-IP providers in the United States," Powell said.

Powell's comments were welcomed by the largest provider of Internet-based phone service, Vonage Holdings Corp., which has 92,000 customers and is expecting 250,000 customers by the end of the year."

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