With VoIP expected on the FCC’s agenda as early as Feb 12, NCTA released a white paper recommending even the most vital public policy objectives be secured through-surprise-the "lightest possible regulation" of VoIP services. The policy paper suggests any VoIP service that should be subject to a regulatory framework not be assigned a specific VoIP classification, arguing that "each regulatory category carries with it a history of regulatory assumptions that may or may not be appropriate for new technologies such as VoIP and the services they spawn." Typically, anything classified as a "telecommunications service" will be subject to a range of traditional Title II requirements. If classified an "information service" it will be unregulated (hence the fuss over cable modems’ classification). Instead of classifications, the assn says the focus should be on the responsibilities and rights appropriate for a facilities-based provider of such VoIP services. Among the few "responsibilities," or regulations, the NCTA sees as permissible: offering 911 service, assisting law enforcement, receiving suggested voluntary responsibilities and ultimately paying into federal and state universal service programs on par with other contributors-once a host of universal service questions are resolved). Rights for VoIP providers should include the ability to obtain phone numbers and have them published in directories, compensation of delivering voice traffic and access to universal service support, NCTA says. — On the Agenda: CTAM added a VoIP kick-off session to CTAM Digital & Broadband, Mar 9. "The Next Big Thing…Cable Phone" will include Time Warner svp, operators for voice services Gerry Campbell, Cox [COX] vp, data and voice product dev Scott Hightower and Comcast [CMCSA] vp, biz dev Tom Nagel. CTAM’s also added an on-demand session.

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