Urging the retention of traditional regulatory oversight and associated public interest obligations with respect to all voice telephone service, including VoIP, regardless of the technology used to provide the service.

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, it is the long standing policy of the United States to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges; and

WHEREAS, the “Public Switched Telephone Network” (PSTN) is comprised of publicly available, interconnected circuit-switched networks operated by telephone corporations used to provide voice telephone service throughout the United States and internationally; and

WHEREAS, federal and state regulatory oversight of the PSTN has fostered the advance of universal telephone service; and

WHEREAS, the transmission and switching technology deployed in the PSTN has continually evolved over time, and can be expected to further evolve as transmission and switching technology changes; and

WHEREAS, Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) are redesigning and rebuilding their networks so that they may provide both telecommunications and broadband services to subscribers over their local facilities, including the facilities that are the functional equivalent of the local loop; and

WHEREAS, the redesign of networks to provide broadband service is leading to a change in the way that voice telephone service is provided, so that interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is used to manage and transmit traffic and complete voice telephone calls in a manner that, from the perspective of customers, is functionally equivalent to circuit-switched voice telephone service; and

WHEREAS, the transmission facilities including, but not limited to, wire, fiber, radio equipment, poles and conduit used by telephone corporations to provide VoIP voice telephone services are the same facilities needed to provide service on the PSTN; and

WHEREAS, telephone and cable corporations are incorrectly claiming that the evolutionary transition to VoIP constitutes the end of the PSTN, and thus all associated regulatory oversight and associated public obligations; and

WHEREAS, the FCC has considered proposals to establish a “sunset date” for the PSTN; and

WHEREAS, in Resolution 2003-05 NASUCA recognized that telecommunications service providers were modifying their networks so that they may provide telecommunications services using VoIP, that the regulation of VoIP and VoIP-like services may be better accomplished under Title II of the Communications Act, and that both state and federal regulators are responsible for ensuring the continued widespread availability of reliable, affordable and high quality telephone services; and

WHEREAS, the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates urges the FCC and states, here and in a companion resolution (Resolution 2012-02), to preserve traditional consumer protections including, but not limited to, carrier of last resort and eligible telecommunications carrier obligations;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the transition to VoIP is the next step in the evolution of the PSTN, and the regulatory oversight and associated public interest obligations traditionally applied to the PSTN should apply to voice telephone service regardless of the technology used to provide the service; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Telecommunications Committee of NASUCA, with the approval of the Executive Committee of NASUCA, is authorized to take all steps consistent with this Resolution in order to secure its implementation.

Adopted June 25, 2012

Charleston, South Carolina

Submitted by the Telecommunications Committee

Abstentions: Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wyoming