With the continued uncertainty regarding the classification of VoIP service and the application of intercarrier compensation to VoIP, litigation over VoIP charges is extensive. In the latest case to reach a decision, the FCC ruled that a CLEC serving an affiliated VoIP provider may not collect tariffed access charges for terminating calls to the VoIP customers or for 8YY calls originated by the VoIP customers.
The FCC order was issued in a formal complaint case brought by AT&T against YMax Communications Corp., whose affiliated entity provides the MagicJack VoIP device. The Commission agreed with AT&T that it did not have to pay YMax’s access charges for the traffic in question.
The FCC’s decision is a narrow one, however. It ruled only that the CLEC’s tariff language did not apply to the traffic, not that VoIP may not be subject to access charges. The primary lesson of the case is that a VoIP provider must carefully consider the description of its services, and not necessarily use "cookie cutter" tariffs designed for traditional PSTN traffic.