Internet phone services got a big boost yesterday as federal regulators declared that one company offering a free version is not subject to traditional phone rules.
The burgeoning Internet phone industry, which promises sharply lower rates and features such as video messaging, had been awaiting the ruling and the start of the rulemaking process for the whole industry, which also came yesterday.
But a dissenting commissioner said the ruling is "reckless" because the Federal Communications Commission has not resolved issues including whether law enforcement agencies will be able to tap Internet phone calls.
The FCC ruling directly involves Free World Dialup, based in Melville, which says it has 150,000 customers nationwide who download software that allows them to call one another over the Internet.
"This is a watershed event," said Jeff Pulver, founder and head of Free World Dialup, which uses Voice over Internet Protocol to convert sound to data packets that travel much like e-mail.
News source: Newsday