Our first two posts regarding SB 1161 provided a brief summary of the regulatory background and history relating to regulation of VoIP and other IP-enabled services by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). As readers will recall, the CPUC has yet to determine whether VoIP services are “telephone corporations” subject to its jurisdiction, but we believe the Public Utilities Code could be construed to permit regulation of VoIP and have noted that the CPUC currently regulates, as a matter of course, providers of other types of IP-enabled services. In addition, while the FCC has preempted state regulation of some forms of VoIP, it appears that fixed (non-nomadic) intrastate VoIP service may be susceptible to state regulation. Continue reading “What will be the likely impacts of SB 1161?”

A bill now pending before the California Legislature (SB 1161 [Padilla]) would prohibit, subject to certain exceptions and, for now, only until 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other state and local agencies from regulating VoIP and other IP-enabled services. At the time of this posting, the bill has passed the Senate and is now making its way through the Assembly. Proponents of the bill contend that it is intended merely to preserve the regulatory status quo. Opponents do not claim otherwise, but express concern that while the CPUC has not previously determined it necessary to regulate this segment of the telecommunications industry, the CPUC’s ability to do so should be preserved, lest, among other things, a marketplace failure or other circumstance requires swift remedial action to protect consumer interests. Continue reading “Legislative Proposal to Bar State Regulation of VoIP and Other IP-enabled Services”