The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has adopted an Order on Remand and Declaratory Ruling (Order) that clarifies when Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers may recover end-office switching payments for terminating calls to local end users. The Order clarifies that, when a VoIP provider provides a physical connection to the last-mile facilities used to serve a home or business, the VoIP provider may recover end-office switching charges in the same manner as traditional local network providers.
In 2011, the Commission first adopted intercarrier compensation rules for VoIP providers (the VoIP Symmetry Rules), allowing them to compete with traditional voice providers by permitting them to recover end-office switching charges if they performed the same functions as traditional local carriers. In 2015, the Commission sought to extend application of its VoIP Symmetry Rules to all VoIP providers, however, that action was later overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. By clarifying that VoIP providers may only recover end-office switching charges if they provide last-mile facilities, the Commission’s Order resolves the issues identified by the D.C. Circuit.