OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES, INTERNET INNOVATIONS like e-mail, the world-wide-web, and e-commerce have unleashed powerful transformations that have changed almost every aspect of our lives, grown our economy, and increased our standard of living. On the horizon are a new wave of Internet communications technologies that promise to make communicating more affordable, businesses more productive, jobs more plentiful, and the Internet more valuable.

Internet communications technologies, including Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other IP-enabled applications, products, and services that consumers access over broadband and the Internet have dramatically transformed the way we communicate — converging Internet text, voice and video in entirely new ways. At the forefront of this revolution is a new generation of advancements in Internet communications technologies that harness the power of the Internet to transform the way we communicate.

To help promote this future, the nation’s leading Internet communications companies, on the cutting edge of developing and delivering IP innovations, have come together to advance regulatory policies that enable Americans to enjoy the full promise and potential of these technologies. The companies who make up the VON Coalition, believe regulators should refrain from applying traditional telephone regulations that could stall consumer benefits, while industry and government find new solutions and ways to address important concerns without imposing legacy telephone regulations to VoIP.

As Internet communications technologies become more mainstream, policy makers across the globe have shown a tendency to examine these innovative technoloiges with the same tautologies and inclinations they have relied on through history to deliver and regulate basic switched voice services. History, however, has proven that in an otherwise competitive market with low barriers to entry and low switching costs for consumers, regulation of this nature has the potential to materially and adversely impact technological, business process and other innovation, hinder the growth of open, competitive markets and place unnecessary burdens on companies eager to invest in and deliver innovative products and features to consumers. Therefore, any regulatory decisions must be made after discourse and deliberation if the growing Internet communications market is to achieve its potential.

Jeff Pulver, a leading Internet communications expert, founded the VON Coalition in 1996 to advocate for a fresh approach to regulation of Internet communications. Today, members of the VON Coalition are united in the viewpoint that the Internet communications industry should remain as free of governmental regulations as possible.

The VON Coalition serves as the leading organization worldwide to maintain ongoing dialogue with legislators, regulators, and other policymakers concerning Internet communications technologies, practices, products, and benefits. Through relationships developed with policy makers in the United States and Europe, the VON Coalition has created a forum for VON participants to articulate the benefits of Internet communications and define concerns regarding the effect regulation of the industry would impose, and to act on these concerns. As such, if you are a developer, provider or user of Internet communications applications, products and services, you will derive significant benefit as a member of the VON Coalition.