Vonage Complains to FCC of Calls Being Blocked

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vonage Holdings Corp., an Internet-based telephone service provider, has complained to U.S. communications regulators that some of its calls are being blocked, the company said on Monday.

According to a source familiar with the dispute, Vonage has told Federal Communications Commission officials that it has evidence an Internet service provider owned by a telephone company has been blocking its service, affecting a couple of hundred customers.

Vonage spokeswoman Brooke Schulz confirmed that some of the company's traffic had been blocked, but declined to provide details about who blocked its service or how many customers were affected. Internet service providers are able to block Vonage calls by refusing data from certain ports, similar to the methods used to control unwanted e-mail.

"We have seen an instance of port blocking that was of grave concern to us," Schulz said. "We have sought the FCC's counsel to remedy the situation."

Schulz said Vonage had to go through and restore each customer's service individually, but that the fix was temporary.

An FCC official said the agency has not received a formal complaint from Vonage.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell told a trade publication on Monday in Colorado that the agency was "actively on this case and we are taking it pretty seriously."

The FCC could take enforcement action against carriers if they are found to have engaged activities that violate anti-competition laws, said Powell, according to trade publication Advanced IP Pipeline.

Vonage's service uses high-speed Internet connections to carry telephone calls.

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