The VON Coalition
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Protect Your Freedom to Speak

Before most Americans even know they have a voice on the Internet, powerful special interests want to take away your voice. Together these proposal could stall, stifle or even stop the exciting new voice communication technologies now making there way to the Internet. They could limit your ability to speak and be heard on the Internet. The problem is, most policymakers aren't even aware of the many ways the Internet is transforming voice. So they think everything is just another telephone. And that's why we're asking you to get involved. Stand up -- speak up -- and fight for your freedom to speak!

 

what you can do
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Help ensure a uniform national framework for Internet communications:

Ensuring a uniform national framework for VoIP, helps ensure that those services that substitute for a traditional phone services have consistent levels of 911 access, privacy protection, universal service support, from one jurisdiction to another -- without having to comply with a patchwork of potential conflicting state and local rules.  It also helps ensure that new Internet communications technologies that aren't substitutes for traditional phone services can continue to advance consumer benefits under a single uniform national policy framework. Support a National Framework

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Tell the FCC that per minute fees don't belong on the Internet.

Rural phone companies want to apply per minute fees to Internet communication and, as a result, take away your freedom to speak.  They have been actively lobbying the FCC and filing petitions to convince the FCC to put a toll booth and time clock on the Internet in order to subsidize these rural phone companies. For free services, that aren't charging you for the services, increasing fees by as much as 20 times will likely make them uneconomic and eliminate many of these innovative services just now emerging on the Internet. Why should a meter run on the Internet?

For example, one petition asks the FCC to increase fees on VoIP services and eliminate the pro-growth pro-innovation policies that for 20 years have kept per-minute access charges off the Internet. What does this mean? Well, if granted, it could raise the costs as much as 20 times for connecting broadband voice users with their analog counterparts – thus putting a toll booth on the digital transition and slowing broadband benefits. For many of the innovative and often free services highlighted on this web site, it could make the difference between whether the services can even be economically offered to consumers.  It should not be suprising that some rural phone companies like the idea of eliminating VoIP services.

These rural phone companies (like Embarq) amazingly claim that VoIP services like voice blogs and talking avatars compete with their home phone services and are getting a "free ride" when they connected with their phone network. These arguments ignore the facts that Embarq is already compensated for use of its network, that Embarq gets a free ride for the calls that its users make to VoIP users, and that Interconnected VoIP users pay twice what Embarq users pay to subsidize rural phone customers (including Embarq’s) through a program called the Universal Service Fund.  See what the VON Coalition, the Open Internet Coalition, and Google have to say about the petition and why they think it’s a bad idea.

Tell the FCC to keep per minute charges off the Internet and make sure the Embarq petition is NOT granted and that access charge subsidy fees are not extended to Internet communication.Tell the FCC not to eliminate your voice!

 

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"Phantom Traffic" proposals - Tell the Senate not to let them block your voice.

Senators say your voice is a “phantom” and want to allow phone companies to block or charge you extra for a web originated call.  Senator Stevens has introduced so called “Phantom Traffic” legislation, and says rural phone companies should be allowed to block your ability to use these voice tools because sometimes they don’t have a telephone number associated with the web site, button, or facebook application.  Listen to what he says here.  Tell Senator Stevens and the others members of the Senate Commerce Committee not to block your ability to speak and be heard.  See the VON Coalition’s testimony.  Act quickly because the Senate Commerce Committee could vote on it any day. 

Tell Senators to oppose Phantom Traffic legislation

 

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