Monday, April 11, 2005

Congressional Internet Caucus to Consider VoIP Port Blocking

The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, a diverse group of public interest, non profit and industry groups working to educate the Congress, has scheduled a hearing next week to consider VoIP port blocking issues. Invited witnesses include:

  • Dan Brenner, National Cable & Telecommunications Association

  • Jeffrey Citron, CEO, Vonage

  • James Speta, Associate Professor, Northwestern University Law School

  • Timothy Wu, Associate Professor, University of Virginia Law School

Congress is looking into making changes to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The panel is expected to discuss whether "packet discrimination" should best be dealt with by legislation, regulation or on a case-by-case basis.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2005, from 9:30 - 11:00 am in Room HC-5 of the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • In March 2005, Vonage prevailed in a case involving VoIP-port blocking by local telephone company. The case involved the Madison River Telephone Company, which Vonage accused of blocking ports used for VoIP applications. Last month, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry to Madison River. This has resulted in a Consent Decree under which Madison River will refrain from blocking VOIP traffic and ensure that such blocking will not recur. Madison River will also pay a $15,000 fine to the U.S. Treasury. The consent decree expires in 30 months.

See also