What's a phone number worth?
by Bruce Stewart
Rich Tehrani nails some of the problems with this approach:
Mr. Martin is reported as saying all phone numbers should be paying into the fund regardless of underlying technology. As soon as this happens there will be a massive push to ENUM and people will bypass phone numbers altogether. We really don't need phone numbers and taxing them is illogical.
Worse, are we going to tax US based numbers? All phone numbers? If we tax US based numbers then how many people will switch their phone numbers to international numbers? How will we police this?
The world is changing. VoIP is changing it and the old rules don't apply. Making blanket statements about phone numbers in a world where phone numbers have less and less meaning will just push the market further and faster away from phone numbers. Then what do we do?
The FCC has a problem. Congress has told them that they MUST provide for "universal service", which to say that people in the Ozarks and back-country Montana get a phone and everyone else pays for it. For this cross-subsidization scheme to work there have to be a way to tax phone users.