Regulation of Internet Calls Questioned
For now, the government should not regulate telephone calls over the Internet, despite pleas from some small long-distance companies, the Clinton administration’s top telecommunications advisor said. “Washington at this point has no need to regulate. We do have a need to understand,” said Commerce Department Assistant Secretary Larry Irving, whose National Telecommunications and Information Administration organized a conference on Internet phone technology. Worried that the new communications may cut into profits, a group of small long-distance companies, America’s Carriers Telecommunications Assn., has asked the Federal Communications Commission to order makers of Internet phone technology to stop selling software that allows people to make such calls. The group also wants the government to regulate Internet phone providers like traditional telephone carriers, meaning they would have to pay fees to support affordable telephone service for low-income and rural users, and their services would be subject to regulation. The FCC has yet to act on the petition.