AARP, consumer advocates support MN regulation of VoIP

NARUC and NASUCA – associations representing state and consumer advocates across the country – joined AARP in support of Minnesota regulation of VoIP, or voice telephone service over fiber networks. After a federal district court ruled that MN may not regulate Charter’s VoIP service, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) appealed the ruling.

AARP said state regulation protects the older people it represents. NARUC and NASUCA, the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, argued that the district court’s ruling is inconsistent with other the 8th Circuit and FCC precedent. “Even the FCC readily acknowledges that consumers cannot distinguish between competing retail phone service offerings provided via TDM technology” and VoIP service, the advocate associations said. “If upheld, the Order’s finding will eviscerate specific roles Congress assigned States, eliminating not just the MPUC’s authority to protect its citizens, but also sparking litigation over State operations across the country.”

The Communications Workers of America has long supported equivalent regulation of voice service, regardless of the technology.