Embarq is looking to protect its legacy minute-billing business. On Jan. 8, 2008, it filed a petition with the FCC to Forbear on the ESP Exemption. Ultimately, this results in IP-to-PSTN becoming toll charges. [Pulver has details]. And GigaOm has the perspective:
As with efforts to unwind net neutrality, competition represents a last resort for most telcos. Net neutrality keeps the dream of counting bits like minutes on hold, because as long as a voice bit costs the same as a video bit or a Facebook bit, metering bits doesn’t offer much promise. Club telco enjoys near monopoly control of Internet backbones. Cogent Communications is the only operator of a top ten Internet backbone without a legacy telecom business to protect. The hand-wringing about video-congested Internet backbones represents the precursor of a campaign to unwind settlement-free peering and increase transit pricing. Embarq recently petitioned the FCC to increase the rates associated with terminating VoIP traffic even as Vonage gets nothing to terminate traffic arriving from Embarq.