Telecommunications Bill of 2005

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The Telecommunications Act of 2005 (tentatively named)[1] is a proposed United States telecommunications law that makes regulatory changes to broadband Internet providers, Voice over IP providers, and Broadband Video services. Some of it will likely become law due to current political alignment between former President George W. Bush and Congress, though specific details may substantially change as it makes its way out of committee and through Congress.[2]


In its current form, the law proposes to keep VoIP services and Broadband Video services from state regulation by way of the interstate commerce clause, keeping regulation of these areas exclusively to the federal government.

The bill proposes adding several new requirements to VoIP services, including number portability, interconnection requirements, E911 services, and telecommunications relay requirements. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is instructed to consider assessing universal service fees.[3] It also proposes several new requirements for Broadband Video services, including rating blocking ability, public-access and other must-carry requirements, ownership and franchise controls, Emergency Alert System requirements, closed captioning, and several other requirements.[4]

It is not clear whether terms such as "VoIP" and "Broadband Video" are meant to cover all users of software such as Microsoft NetMeeting, Asterisk PBX, or RealVideo. Currently, the bill defines its terms broadly and doesn't appear to make exclusions for the wide variety of noncommercial or free services, content, and software that could come under its registration and regulation requirements. The bill specifically mentions that free services and content are included in its regulation requirements.[5][6][7] An earlier FCC rule regarding 911 requirements for VoIP services drew finer distinctions, stating that only services which interconnect with the traditional phone system are subject to the FCC's new requirements.


On November 9, 2005, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing regarding a staff draft made available. By March 30, 2006, the Committee had held a hearing to consider a Committee Print on the COPE Act of 2006.[8] By June 12, 2006, the House had passed the bill to the Senate, where it was received and read twice, and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.[9] On September 29, 2006, the Senate issued their Report.[10] and placed the bill on the Senate legislative calendar.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ COPE Act of 2006 (Communications Act of 2006)
  2. ^ Blankenhorn, Dana. Gittin' While the Gittin's Good 19 September 2005.
  3. ^ Sec. 206. Revision of universal service requirements. Staff discussion draft bill, 15 Sep 05.
  4. ^ Sec. 304. Application of video regulations to broadband video service providers. Staff discussion draft bill, 15 Sep 05
  5. ^ Sec. 2. Definitions; (a) Terms. Staff discussion draft bill, 15 Sep 05
  6. ^ VOIP Service. Staff discussion draft bill, 15 Sep 05
  7. ^ Broadband Video Service. Staff discussion draft bill, 15 Sep 05
  8. ^ House Energy and Commerce Committee. Hearing to consider Committee Print on the COPE Act of 2006.
  9. ^ Library of Congress. H.R.5252: All Actions
  10. ^ Senate Report 109-355 29 Sep. 2006 Document, description of the Communications Act of 2006
  11. ^ Bill Summary and Status
  12. ^ H.R.5252-RS - 29 Sep. 2006 - 109-355.[1] Communications Act of 2006 (text of the proposed legislation)


External links[edit]