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Industry Bristles at Possibly More CPUC Regulation

The Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition disputed California’s authority to apply service quality metrics to VoIP, it said in reply comments posted Monday at the California Public Utilities Commission in docket R.22-03-016. The VoIP trade group agreed with many…

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companies’ December comments opposing service-quality metrics for non-copper networks (see 2212220052). “VON joins the vast majority of commenters that question the authority of the Commission to adopt, and the need for, VoIP service quality objectives,” the VoIP association commented Friday. Comments supporting new rules "fail to acknowledge the differences between VoIP and traditional phone services that make the existing metrics inapplicable to an application that travels over the Internet, via a customer-procured broadband connection and customer-provided equipment.” it said. Applying the metrics to the wireless industry probably will harm consumers, CTIA said. “There is simply no factual or policy basis -- much less any legal basis." The need for the CPUC to set minimum standards for wireless, VoIP and broadband “is based on the record of consumer complaints detailing service quality issues and the continued underperformance of communications service providers as it relates to these services,” responded the state agency’s independent Public Advocates Office. Competition isn't enough to keep service quality high, said PAO. "California customers lack a choice of whom their communications service provider is,” especially for high-speed broadband. CPUC Administrative Law Judge Camille Watts-Zagha held a prehearing conference by telephone Tuesday in a separate rulemaking (docket R.22-08-008) on changes to licensing requirements and other obligations for internet-based voice (see 2211010010). “Our biggest concern in the proceeding is if it goes beyond the issue of market entry and simple registration,” and the order opening the docket indicates that it might, said BRB attorney Patrick Rosvall, representing Frontier and Consolidated. The state is preempted from regulating any service that can be used over more than one broadband connection, said Pillsbury’s Glenn Richards for the VON Coalition.