Powell almost warns SBC

FCC Chairman Michael Powell is concerned about SBC’s TIPTop enough to issue a statement today, warning the Bell that FCC has got the company within its cross hair. “Should we conclude that this tariff is being used to justify the imposition of traditional tariffed access charges on VoIP providers or to discriminate against SBC’s competitors, the Commission will take appropriate action including, but not limited to, initiating an investigation of SBC’s interstate tariff and any other tariff that proposes similar terms,” he said. “Nothing in this tariff should be interpreted to force a set of compensation relationships on VoIP providers and their connecting carriers either at this Commission or in other venues.”

SBC’s TIPTop tarriff petition has caught the eye of The Wall Street Journal, and several other outlets including Jeff Pulver who wrote extensively on his weblog. Here are my two cents. SBC says it is a voluntary tarriff. Powell added, “SBC’s interstate tariff for TIPToP service comes at time when VoIP services are continuing to grab consumer attention by offering more choice, lower prices, greater value, and enhanced features. I am committed to ensuring that this Commission avoids any action that might slow the IP- services revolution. Against this backdrop, the Commission, state utility commissions, and the courts all are considering the question of whether legacy access charges should apply to VoIP services.”

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