December 18, 2009 - NTCA Opposes Large Telco IP Jurisdiction Claim
Says AT&T, Google, others present inaccurate legal interpretation
Arlington, Va., December 18, 2009 - In a letter to the House and Senate Commerce committees, NTCA Vice President, Government Affairs Tom Wacker urged policy-makers to oppose a request by large incumbent telephone companies and others to adopt legislation that would subject IP-based services to exclusive federal jurisdiction, and took issue with the group's claim that such a move is merely an affirmation of existing policy.
"Let there be no question that the record and the facts surrounding this issue do not support the letter's premise that a preemptive maneuver of this nature is little more than an affirmation of existing FCC policy," the letter said. "Indeed, in a September 24 filing with the FCC, [NTCA and several other organizations] outlined the set of facts that show this legal interpretation to be inaccurate."
In the letter, Wacker said the request by the group merits no further consideration, noting such consideration "would be premature and disruptive" to the major undertaking of the national broadband plan currently underway.
"If and when such a request is in fact contemplated, policy-makers must necessarily consider its impact on state universal service funds, intercarrier compensation, consumer protection, public safety and by extension, our national and economic security," Wacker said in the letter, pointing to the several public interest considerations associated with the incumbents' proposal "that cannot be overlooked."
The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.