USA's new FCC Chief thinks that US VoIP providers should contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF). This is crazy. This would mean that if I use a US-based VoIP service to call people in New Zealand (from New Zealand) I will effectively be paying for US PSTN services to be supplied to "sparsely populated rural areas, and to provide telephone service discounts to low-income consumers".
I can understand charging US customers for this, but with VoIP your customers can be anywhere in the world.
You can read more in the article on Voxilla.
Kevin J. Martin, President Bush's appointee as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission may not be as friendly to Voice over IP service provider as Michael Powell, whom Martin replaces this week.
Martin, a 38-year-old attorney and FCC boardmember, clashed over regulatory issues with Powell in the past, advocating, for example, even greater government regulation in areas such as television broadcast program content than his predecessor.
Unlike Powell, who espoused a “hands-off” approach to government regulation of the fledgling VoIP industry, Martin has said that all providers using the public switched telephone network — including VoIP providers — should contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF), an FCC-managed program to subsidize basic telephone services in areas where the costs of offering such services are high, primarily sparsely populated rural areas, and to provide telephone service discounts to low-income consumers.