Regulating VoIP as a public utility

According to a recent article in Forbes, California is now set to join 24 other states in prohibiting its Public Utilities Commission from imposing new regulations on VoIP and other Internet services without explicit authority from the state legislature.

The new bill is written in response to a small movement to push local authorities into managing VoIP and other internet services as a public utility. These groups argue that oversight is needed to protect consumers and to avoid monopolies.

However, others argue that regulation, especially on a local level is unnecessary and unneeded. Forbes argues that the main reasons for creating a public utility are that the service is indispensable, and the cost of serving every resident requires a significant investment in infrastructure. However, the packet-switched network means new VoIP services can reach every user worldwide without any specific infrastructure investment.