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FCC Extends Video Call-Related Waiver

The FCC is extending a portion of its temporary waiver to Inteliquent until Sept. 1 so the company can continue to handle the volume of conferencing traffic for its customers Zoom and Cisco Webex, specifically in six hotspots. 

While shelter-in-place mandates have been loosening across the country, the FCC said that the use of remote meetings via video conference and conference remains at unprecedented levels. 

Inteliquent asked for the waiver for traffic in Chicago; Houston; Philadelphia; Jacksonville, Fla.; New York; and Denver, where it said it has recently experienced "dramatic increases" in traffic. 

The FCC signaled that the waiver was important for distance learning, work and telehealth, and signaled that if pandemic conditions warrant, it would be receptive to extending the waiver beyond Sept. 1. 

But it also signaled it does not plan to extend a blanket waiver to all carriers with conference call service customers, saying that would be overbroad and encourage access arbitrage.  

Video conferencing has become the go-to alternative for everything from birthday parties to business meetings to Hill hearings and even the FCC's monthly meeting. 

Traffic exploded following mandated shelter-in-place mandates. 

For example, according to Zoom, "as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants..." 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.