National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Resolution Calls on States to Facilitate Competitive Advanced Voice Services
Representative Rene Garcia (FL)
WHEREAS, technological innovation has led to an explosion of new advanced voice services including facilities-based and non-facilities-based digital voice services, and
WHEREAS, these digital voice services, often referred to as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or IP-based voice services, are bringing significant new competition to the voice market, and
WHEREAS, these new competitive choices have resulted in lower prices, significant savings and other benefits for state economies and consumers, and
WHEREAS, NHCSL recognizes that advanced communication services and information technology are major economic drivers for state economies, provide a competitive edge and can help to ensure economic empowerment in Hispanic communities, and
WHEREAS, reliable estimates show that full-scale deployment of IP voice services will lead to consumer savings in the next five years of over $100 billion nationwide, benefiting consumers in every state, and
WHEREAS, in addition to these savings consumers are benefiting from innovative features and functions, including the ability to manage accounts online, the ability to check voicemail messages online and forward them to other e-mail users, easy conference calling, and many other attractive innovations, and
WHEREAS, we are unable to predict what other innovations may be forthcoming that will benefit consumers and society, and
WHEREAS, policymakers and voice service providers have recognized that voice providers should live up to certain social obligations such as providing enhanced 911 (E-911) service, ensuring universal access for low income consumers and those in rural and high-cost areas, supporting schools and libraries and rural health-care facilities, ensuring access for the disabled, working with the law enforcement community and complying with privacy laws, and
WHEREAS, many policymakers and service providers have also recognized that economic regulation of these competitive and advanced services is unnecessary and counterproductive in a competitive environment, and
WHEREAS, economic regulation of VoIP would be of little benefit to consumers and would chill investment and innovation, and
WHEREAS, at least eight states have taken legislative action and appropriately ensured that such services will not be regulated by their respective Public Utility Commissions, nor by another state or local agency, except that generally applicable business regulations, antitrust laws, deceptive trade practices, and consumer protection laws will continue to apply, and
WHEREAS, in these eight states the Pubic Utility Commissions maintain the rights and responsibilities conferred by the Federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
WHEREAS, some state Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) have determined that state regulation of such services is unnecessary, counter productive, and harmful to consumers while other PUCs have simply chosen not to regulate, and
WHEREAS, the consumer savings, benefits, and innovative features and functions of IP voice services are at risk in states that have not enacted such legislation or made such determinations, and
WHEREAS, it is in the interest of NHCSL and all consumers to allow competition and innovation in advanced voice services to flourish without unnecessary regulation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE 5th ANNUAL SUMMIT OF THE NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS, ASSEMBLED IN MIAMI, FL, November 15, 2007 – November 18, 2007, that NHCSL applauds the states that have taken action to ensure that IP-based voice services are free from economic regulation even as generally applicable business regulations, antitrust laws, deceptive trade practices, and consumer protection laws continue to apply, and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that NHCSL promotes the best practices of ensuring that IP-based voice services are free from economic regulation in all states.
This resolution was adopted on November 17, 2007, at the NHCSL Annual Executive Committee Meeting held during the NHCSL 5th National Summit in Miami, Florida.
Sponsored by: Representative Rene Garcia (FL)
Co-Sponsored by: Representative Angel Cruz (PA)
Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (NY)