Washington

California Governor Signs Bill Limiting IP Regs

Brown says it will spur innovative service 10/02/2012 01:51:52 PM Eastern

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill
that limits the regulatory
authority of the state's Public Utilities Commission over Voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP)
and IP-enabled services (voice, data, or video) there until
2020.

In
a letter to members of the California Senate, he said that consumer safeguards
remained in place, that the bill would spur the growth of "innovative
services that have become a hallmark of our state."

Brown
pointed out that VoIP providers will continue to contribute to the Universal
Service Fund, provide e911 access, were still subject to consumer protection
laws as well as PUC oversight of pole attachments.

But
the bill does prevent PUC's from regulating IP video, voice and data services
on their own initiative, limiting them to actions expressly delegated by
Federal law or directed by statute.

The
legislature approved the bill Aug. 23, with its backers saying it "preserves
the future of the Internet by encouraging continued investment and
technological advances and supporting continued consumer choice and access to
innovative services that benefit California," and "ensuring a vibrant and
competitive open Internet that allows California's technology businesses to
continue to flourish and contribute to economic development throughout the
state."

The
California Cable & Telecommunications Association, which had been tracking
the bill's progress, said it would essentially "reaffirm California's current policy of
not regulating Internet-based services."

Activist
group Media Alliance, which had been fighting the bill, instead said it "leaves
consumers in California basically on their
own in the Wild West on a host of issues including universal service,
non-discrimination, privacy protections, service quality through line
maintenance requirements, fair billing and collections, refunds for
unauthorized charges, and reporting on contractual rates for female and
minority-owned businesses.

September
October