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Tech Companies and Incumbents Seek Federal Jurisdiction of Internet Services

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, December 2, 2009 - A number of companies have signed onto a letter to members of Congress encouraging the passage of legislation affirming that all internet protocol-based services are subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction, if the services are regulated at all.

Under the approach, state regulation of such services would be barred.

“Absent Congressional action to confirm exclusive federal jurisdiction, IP services will be subject to a patchwork of 50-plus different regulatory regimes, stifling innovation and the industry’s ability to take full advantage of available cost savings,” reads the letter (PDF) obtained by Broadband Census News.

“Legislation to re-affirm exclusive federal jurisdiction over IP based services – regardless of technology or provider – would further the national focus on policies to spur continued evolution to more advanced IP and broadband networks, and foster continued development and deployment of new and innovative IP services, as well as of the broadband platforms on which those services depend,” the letter continues.

The document is addressed to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and the House Committee on Commerce, Science & Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. The letter is signed by AT&T, Google, Microsoft, the National Association of Manufacturers, TechAmerica, Telecommunications Industry Association, T-Mobile, Verizon Communications and the VON Coalition.

“A nationalized approach to IP deployment allows networks to be deployed with common systems, platforms, and processes, and results in efficiencies that provide considerable cost savings for consumers. To continue to develop, however, there must be regulatory certainty for IP service providers, application developers and equipment manufacturers,” the letter reads.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners is opposed to any preemptive move by Congress.

Winter covered technology policy issues for five-and-a-half years as a reporter for the National Journal Group. She has worked for USA Today, the Washington Times, the Magazine Group, the State Department’s International Visitor’s Program, and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. She also taught English at a university in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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