U.S. has 21 million VoIP subscribers according to FCC report

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission reports that there are 21 million VoIP subscriptions stateside, and that the vast majority of them are residential customers. But it didn’t count Skype subscribers.

These figures were announced by the FCC to accompany the release of its highly detailed 31-page report, "Local Telephone Competition". The report, however, isn’t exactly what you might call "fresh" — although it was released just last Friday, its data set ends on December 31, 2008.

Don’t expect 2010 numbers to be higher than end-of-2008 numbers, however. In a report published earlier this year, analysts at the Dell’Oro group said the the VoIP market had suffered greatly in recent years due to the market meltdown, and was only beginning to recover — or even stabilize — in 2010.

The FCC’s report come with one enormous caveat that it buries in a footnote: the stats don’t include Skype subscribers, but only phone-to-phone communications that enable customers "to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network." This omission doesn’t render the numbers meaningless — it just means that there’s a lot more VoIPing going on than the FCC reports.

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