By a 63 to 12 vote, the California Assembly, urged on by Silicon Valley groups, banned "regulating voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and internet protocol-enabled service unless the federal government orders otherwise," through 2020.
According to Bloomberg news, organizations such as TechAmerica, TechNet and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, "argue that certainty is needed for the state's technology sector to continue to thrive."
But critics charge that the state has abdicated regulation over what is quickly becoming the predominant means of voice telephony. Studies show that between 2008 and 2010 VoIP subscriptions rose 46 percent, as wireline dropped 17 percent.
Although the California bill prohibits the state Public Utilities Commission from regulating VoIP, it doesn't seek to override the FCC. But so far, the federal government has yet to decide what, if any, regulations will apply to VoIP.
At the very least, the California law weakens consumer protections over the fastest-growing segment of voice communications.
California Assembly OKs Bill to Prevent Regulation of Internet Telephone Industry (Bloomberg BNA, Aug. 22, 2012)