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Hearing of House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Internet: How Internet Protocol-Enabled Services are Changing the Face of Communications...

Location: Washington, DC


April 27, 2005


Ms. Blackburn. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to say thank you to each of you for taking the time to come and----

Mr. Upton. Could you just put the mic a little closer? Great.

Ms. Blackburn. These chairs are bigger than I am, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Upton. You are correct. A lot bigger.

Ms. Blackburn. Yes.

And while I do have the microphone, since I was in a meeting downstairs, I do want to recognize Debbie Tate, who is out of Tennessee. I think she was recognized a little earlier by my colleague from across the way, but she does a great job and I am proud to have her here.

I have got a series of questions. I am going to try to clip through these as quickly as I possibly can.

I think, Mr. Perkins, I am going to start with you. Or let me ask all of you this by Mr. Perkins' testimony. And I am on page four of his testimony. This is what he says. ``Most people now agree the Internet is truly an interstate phenomenon, and individual States should not be in the business of regulating the rates charged for Internet services.'' Do any of you disagree with that statement, and if so, why? Go ahead.

Mr. Fellman. I will jump in.

Ms. Blackburn. Thank you.

Mr. Fellman. Congresswoman, I think that when you say Internet services, I am not clear on exactly what that means. Cable services today are regulated in a very limited way for basic cable. If video programming is provided over Internet protocol, I would take the position that it is a cable service, and therefore, would be subject to regulations.

Ms. Blackburn. All right. I am reading from his testimony, and that is why I wanted to see where you all stand on this, you know. Internet service is anything that is going to come over the Internet, and as we look at the Telecom Act, one of the things I look in terms of is we talk voice-over IP. We also know that everything is going to come over IP, and I just wanted to see if you all were in agreement or disagreement. It sounds like looking at your faces in the response--and knowing we are short on time now, that you probably would rather respond to that later. Am I reading that right from you all? And that maybe you would like to give me a written response? Am I reading that right from you all?

Mr. Davidson. I will jump in, Charles Davidson with the Florida Commission.

I agree with the statement that States should not be in the business of regulating the rates charged for Internet service----

Ms. Blackburn. Okay.

Mr. Davidson. [continuing] so I would agree wholeheartedly with that statement.

Ms. Blackburn. Okay. Thank you. Mr. Perkins also--in the same paragraph a little bit further down, you--to allow the rates----

Mr. Perkins. Clearly, offers made about the technology of why a person should switch to VoIP and get rid of their wire line, you hare going to have VoIP providers coming in with the new technology advertising and saying you should chuck your old wire line. You should have voice-over Internet. It is the new wave of the future. There will be advertisements for that. People who are unfamiliar with the technology, you may end up with the tragedy that you had in Houston, Texas.

Ms. Blackburn. Okay.

Mr. Perkins. They simply didn't realize the limitations. Consumer protection laws are needed--are in place and can cover this new technology to make sure that those ads are not promising more or less than they should.

Ms. Blackburn. Okay, excellent.

And Mr. Chairman, with that, I will yield back since we are in the middle of a vote.


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