ACTA petitions FCC on internet telephony

Rohit Khare (
Fri, 8 Mar 96 19:03:26 -0500


WASHINGTON, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The America's Carriers
Telecommunication Association (ACTA), a trade association of
competitive, long distance carriers today petitioned the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) to stop companies from selling
software and hardware products that enable use of the Internet to
voice long distance services.

A growing number of companies are selling software programs with
ancillary hardware options that enable a computer to transmit voice
conversations. This, in fact, creates the ability to "by-pass" local,
long distance and international carriers and allows for calls to be
made for virtually "no cost." For example, on-line service providers
generally charge users around $10.00 for five hours of access and then
around $3.00 for each additional hour. Five hours equals 300 minutes,
divided by $10 is 3.3 cents per minute. The average residential long
distance telephone call costs about 22 cents per minute or seven times
as much.

The Internet is a unique form of wire communications. The rapid
growth of the Internet is stressing the capacities of the Internet
itself. The Internet access points are growing at 50% per month with
subscriber growth running close to 30% per month. Individuals are
accessing the Internet for more and more business applications such as
market research, news, and advertising with corporate web sites
exploding, to say nothing about using the Internet for E- mail

ACTA submits that it is incumbent upon the FCC to exercise
jurisdiction over the use of the Internet for unregulated interstate
and international telecommunications services. Long distance and
international carriers must be approved by the FCC to operate and must
file tariffs before both the FCC and state public service commissions.
All of these requirements are stipulated in the Communications Act of
1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Technology may once again be surpassing government's ability to
control its proper use. However, the misuse of the Internet as a way
to "by-pass" the traditional means of obtaining long distance service
could result in a significant reduction of the Internet's ability to
transport its ever enlarging amount of data traffic. Therefore, ACTA
has petitioned the FCC to define the type of permissible
communications which may be effected over the Internet.

America's Carriers Telecommunication Association was founded in
1985 by independent long distance companies to serve the needs of
small businesses and to advance the goals of more effective
competition. ACTA's membership today includes over 130 companies
engaged in providing telecommunications services.

CONTACT: Charles H. Helein, general counsel, 703-714-1301, or
Jennifer Durst-Jarrell, executive director, 407-332-9382, both of
America's Carriers Telecommunication Association