The Near Future of Telecom Legislation

Recently, an article in The Business Journal reported that in Colorado, lawmakers have decided to slow down progress being made to change legislative measures on Colorado telecom services.

Laws that failed to pass included legislative measures that were both supported by and opposed by major telecom providers.

First, the House chose not to pass a legislative measure that would subsidize increased broadband support in rural areas, which would improve rural access to high-speed Internet services, and all of the other services, like VoIP, that come along with that.

The next day, the House also declined to pass a bill that would prevent state legislators from taxing and regulating VoIP and other Internet service providers like standard telecom services.

These rulings are just the latest in an ongoing national debate about the legislative status of VoIP as a telecom service. As more and more people switch away from traditional analog telephone in favor of all cellular or Internet protocol systems, legislators and telecom service providers need to reevaluate the way they provide and the way they regulate communication services.

According to the article, the bill to subsidize new Internet resources in rural parts of Colorado would have used some of the state money that currently supports the subsidy of rural analog telephone service.

However, as national numbers suggest, fewer and fewer people choose traditional analog phone service each year. Many people, especially young people, don’t even have landline phones anymore, but instead use only cell phones. However, landline phones are still absolutely necessary for many people, especially in office environments, and as VoIP is already a popular low cost option for many people through such providers as Skype, Google Talk, Vonage, or RingCentral, it is only natural that many would adopt VoIP phone service in cases where they do need landline service, or cheap rates on international or long distance calls.

So, why would the Colorado legislature resist laws that seem to encourage the growth of VoIP and high-speed Internet services throughout the state? There could be lots of reasons right now. The debate over the status of VoIP as a telecom service is still young, and it is not much in the limelight. Many people may just be totally unaware of all of the long term benefits of deciding now on how to handle VoIP service.

The sooner legislators pick a stance on VoIP, the sooner providers can start turning the gears on improving access to high-speed Internet and VoIP services to people all over the country. This could mean that within a few short years, people all over the country, even in extremely remote areas, could have access to very cheap and very reliable communication services.