Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Specializing in VOIP and other advanced communications

"Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a traditional phone line. VoIP service providers offer a range of capabilities. These include local, long diatance and international calling, calling via computer, mobile phone, dedicated VoIP services, or VoIP adapter, and support for connections between VoIP and traditional phones."

Regulation of VoIP Services

The FCC has worked to create an environment promoting competition and innovation to benefit consumers and, where necessary, has acted to ensure that VoIP providers comply with important public safety requirements and public policy goals, including the following:

  • Comply with FCC licensing requirements; obtain 499 filer ID and section 214 license
  • Supply 911 emergency calling capabilities to customers for services that utilize the PSTN
  • Comply with the FCC’s disability access requirements, including Telecommunications Relay Services (“TRS”)
  • Contribute to federal universal support mechanisms, including Universal Service Fund (“USF”), TRS Fund, and LNP, and pay FCC regulatory fees
  • Comply with the FCC’s customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”) rules
  • Comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
  • Comply with the FCC's outage reporting requirements
  • Comply with FCC's rules governing market exit procedures, which include informing customers prior to discontinuing services

Currently, state utility commissions are prohibited from regulating the rates and entry requirements associated with VoIP services. For example, state PUCs may not require VoIP providers to seek authorization prior to offering services. However, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with certain rules designed to protect consumers, several states have adopted rules which require providers of VoIP services to register in their state.  In addition, several state and local taxes apply to VoIP providers and services. Specifically, in addition to long-standing state taxes, such as sales and use tax and gross receipts tax, several taxes applicable only to telecommunications and communications services have been extended to VoIP.  Examples of such taxes include E911/911, state TRS, state USF, utility uses tax (UUT), communications services taxes, and telecommunications sales tax.  Click here to learn more about telecom taxes.

Links & Resources

The FCC offers a number of guides and resources to help carriers and consumers gain a better understanding of the regulatory requirements applicable to VoIP services. Select the links below for a more detailed summary of the following issues and requirements: