Telecommunications regulation is not one-size-fits-all. Services fall within regulatory classifications that are associated with differing levels of requirements and fees. This advisory discusses how companies offering Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services have the ability to structure their services to take advantage of the most advantageous classification options.
The manner in which businesses sell their telecommunications services determines the classification of the service. Many, but not all telecommunications companies offer common carrier service, because they offer their services to all customers in the marketplace indifferently. Other companies qualify as private carriers because they negotiate tailored contracts on an individualized basis, often providing services to a limited number of business customers. Common carriers must follow most regulations issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and many issued by state public utilities commissions (PUCs), whereas private carriers generally enjoy deregulated status (with specific, limited, yet important exceptions).
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