To All Interconnected VoIP Clients –
On March 5, 2010, Global NAPS, Inc. and several of its local affiliates (“Global NAPS”) filed a petition (“Petition”) with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) requesting that the Commission issue several declaratory rulings regarding the tariff treatment of Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) traffic. Specifically, Global NAPS seeks the following rulings from the Commission: 1) that federal law prohibits state commissions from subjecting VoIP traffic to intrastate access charges; 2) that once a carrier‘s traffic has been determined to be primarily nomadic VoIP, the remainder of its traffic should be classified as interstate absent clear proof of intrastate calls; 3) that telephone numbers/LERGs are not reliable indicators of the geographic end points of a call; and 4) that connecting carriers forwarding VoIP traffic are not subject to interstate or intrastate access charges.
Global NAPS filed the Petition in response to rulings (or anticipated rulings) in Maryland, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania imposing tariffed intrastate access charges on VoIP calls forwarded by Global NAPS. In its Petition, Global NAPS specifically notes that state public utility commissions have produced incredibly varying interpretations of the FCC‘s past rulings with regards to tariff disputes over VoIP traffic. Thus, Global NAPS maintains that the granting of its Petition would help to ensure a “viable and competitive marketplace” for interconnected VoIP service providers and would facilitate the uniform application of rules and policies for VoIP traffic. Global NAPS asserts that, by granting its requested declaratory rulings, the Commission will reaffirm its exclusive power to set pricing and policy for Internet-related traffic, remedy a current lack of uniformity in the outcomes of cases before state agencies and courts, and prevent the imposition of inappropriate and out-dated rates on innovative, low-cost and consumer-friendly VoIP services.
Because an FCC decision on the various issues raised by Global NAPS‘ Petition could have a significant impact on all Interconnected VoIP service providers, clients are urged to review the Petition (available here) and to monitor the proceeding as it develops. Clients with questions about this Advisory should contact Michael Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-714-1319.