IP Communications and Regulation

Jeff Pulver – organizer of the VON conferences- in his newsletter, delivered via email, today.

Right on the Money!

We Didn’t Start the Fire

When thinking about the current confused state of possible regulation of IP Communication Service Providers inside the US, the words from Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the Fire” start to play in my mind:

We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it..

Telecommunications Law in the United States is over 100 years old and like the song says, “we didn’t start the fire.” Now that a new communications industry has formed in some cases from the ashes of what was once telecom, my hope is that we now have a chance to set the record straight and bring forward a new vantage point with a forward looking eye towards less regulation rather than more regulation.

Regulation should not get in the way of Innovation! European regulators got it right a few years ago when they adopted a principle whereby the effects regulation do not get in the way of innovation.

I think the FCC and the State Public Utility Commissions need to be reminded about all of the great innovation which has come out of the tech sector and remind them that it is the innovation we see today that may in fact have a positive effect on the way we work and live tomorrow.

Adopting a public policy of going after nascent VoIP technologies and applying regulations at this time may in fact have the intended effects of discouraging investment in the IP Communication sector and scare enough people away that all that is left are the heteromorphic skeletons of the IP Communications companies that could have been, rather than the homomorphic telecoms companies that they eventually became.

If the US Wireless Industry had to face the same harsh potential regulatory fight 20 years ago, chances are that the wireless industry would never have evolved to where it is today.

Now is the time to let the nascent IP Communications industry grow up in an unfettered matter and over time let’s watch how it contributes to all of the other horizontal markets that it touches.

“We didn’t start the fire

It was always burning

Since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it

But we tried to fight it…

…and I can’t take it anymore!”

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