Sprint joins Voice on the Net coalition

US telco Sprint is throwing its weight behind efforts to ensure that Internet telephony remains free of regulations.

Sprint has joined the Voice on the Net (VON) coalition which is fighting attempts by long distance telecommunications carriers and resellers to halt the use of the Internet for voice traffic, the coalition has announced this week.

The VON coalition has filed a petition with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it not to ban the sale of Internet telephony software and hardware as requested by the America's Carriers Telecommunications Association (ACTA) in March.

ACTA, which represents about 130 carriers, also is seeking to have the FCC regulate voice traffic over the Internet. Citing unfair competition, ACTA maintains that Internet telephony vendors are misusing the telephone infrastructure for which long-distance carriers are taxed.

Joining the VON coalition on the petition are Microsoft, Netscape, the Software Publishers Association and numerous software vendors. The VON coalition is composed of 85 companies that make or sell Internet telecommunications products or services and more than 450 individuals in over 25 countries.

"The significance of having Sprint as a charter member of the VON Coalition supporting our efforts is tremendous," says Jeff Pulver, chairman of the organisation. "These are very exciting times for the Internet, especially global telephony."

Although AT&T and MCI have not joined ACTA or the coalition, spokesmen from those telecommunications giants have said they support unregulated use of the Internet for voice traffic.

The coalition can be reached on the World Wide Web site at http://www.von.org.

Sprint, based in Westwood, Kansas, is at http://www.sprint.com.

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