Saturday, April 30, 2005

April 29

Internet service provider EarthLink later this year will test Wi-Fi cell phones and a high-speed Internet package that includes unlimited local telephone service, the company said this week.
The tests are the latest indication that EarthLink is trying to capture a significantly larger portion of the U.S. telephone service market.

While the company has been offering broadband telephony for several years, the new high-speed package would establish it as the latest major ISP brand to offer, on a large scale, VoIP, or voice over Internet Protocol, which is software that allows an Internet connection to double as a phone line.
EarthLink will have strong competition from cable operators such as Vonage and other broadband phone service providers such as AT&T CallVantage, 8x8 and Primus.
EarthLink expects that the makeover of its Internet telephony services will yield a half billion dollars in telephone revenue by 2009, and ultimately will serve 2 percent of all U.S. homes, EarthLink executives said during an interview on Thursday. EarthLink doesn't share its phone subscriber tallies or revenues, but the projected tallies are considered a significant improvement over the company's current customer base for phone service.

EarthLink's telephone future also may eventually be less reliant on New Jersey-based Net phone provider Vonage, whose VoIP service EarthLink now resells under the EarthLink brand.
EarthLink later this year plans to launch a telephone-and-broadband service bundle using local phone lines, which EarthLink leases. The bundle, which will cost about $70 a month, won't require the Vonage service to resell.
EarthLink executives added that the company plans to test a cell phone that will accept Wi-Fi transmission; they have a short range but can be used as part of the very fast wireless data networks commonly found in transportation hubs, retail outlets, offices and homes.
The goal is to begin selling the phones as part of a new service package that would include unlimited local and long-distance calls via VoIP. The cell phones will be provided by SK-EarthLink, a joint venture between EarthLink and South Korean cell phone operator SK Telecom.

James Enck - EuroTecoblog

Friday, April 29, 2005
Skypeasy to the homeland

Over in Vienna, my good cyberfreund Lars has some interesting ruminations on the possibilities for Skype-enabled call shops.
I don't know how much our readers in places like the US or Japan can relate to the call shop concept, but despite Vienna's probable whitebread "Sound of Music" image in the outside world, it is actually a modern melting pot, as is London (and also places like Geneva and Luxembourg - believe it or not).
Not far from my home in South London, there are numerous ethnic barber shops and internet salons (I wouldn't call them cafes as such) which also offer cheap international phone calls, FAX services, and money transfers to a variety of countries. In this part of London, it tends to be mainly West Africa and Latin America. In other areas it could just as easily be Turkey, Poland, Bangladesh or Vietnam.

I guess the point is that, as Skype expands its local termination footprint to make SkypeOut a more economically attractive proposition, the incentive for small entrepreneurs to Skypify their premises will grow (Lars rightly stresses the margin enhancement potential for the shop owner).
And it's not just the expatriate market that could benefit. Whenever I am in London's more touristic areas (West End, Kings Road, et al) I am invariably amazed at the sheer number of people I see in the EasyInternetcafes, most of whom seem to be from "developed" markets, many from North America. Easy Group currently has internet cafes in nine countries, and is looking to franchise out to expand elsewhere. If I were Stelios, I'd think seriously about Skyping Niklas to discuss some sort of co-branding arrangement.

Permalink posted by James Enck : 10:45 PM
EU Competition Commission thought piece on municipal networks

A Platinum Circle megavalue reader points me to the latest edition of the EC Competition Policy newsletter (see pages 8 - 15), which contains an examination of what sort of public network funding scenarios might constitute state aid. My reading is that this seems to broadly support the open infrastructure model being pursued in the Netherlands.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 11:36 AM
Telio is listed

I am told that Telio, the "little Norwegian telco that could," was listed on the Norwegian OTC market this week (Bloomberg ticker is TELO NO). I can't get any pricing data over Bloomberg, but my local sources tell me that the shares are trading in the NOK22 - 23 range, with 17m shares outstanding. That gives it a market cap of NOK374m, or about EUR46m. Crudely, I guess that works out at about EUR1000 per subscriber, if that's even a meaningful measure.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 11:20 AM
Strictly not EuroTelco

What the hell, it's Friday. Stumbled across this via Techspot. Very high quality screenshots of Longhorn.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 10:40 AM
Problem neighbors, revisited

Each day seems to bring another variation on this "cross-border IP incursion as weapon of mass EuroTelco destruction" riff I seem to be working on. Today, speculation that cash-rich Belgacom is going to take out Dutch market disruptor Versatel.
Permalink posted by James Enck : 9:19 AM

Mark Evans - Mark Evans

Firefox Hits 50M Downloads
by Mark Evans on April 29, 2005 04:25PM (EDT)

Firefox looks like it's for real if 50 million downloads mean anything. Apparently, the newest alternative browser has 10.3% of the browser market while IE has dropped to 83.1% from 84.8% since the beginning of the year.
If I could be so brave to make a suggestion to the Firefox development community, it would be to provide multiple pre-configured versions: lite (with no extensions), medium (some basic extensions) and large (lots of extensions for newbies).
Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos

8x8 Thinks $99 is Great
by Mark Evans on April 29, 2005 02:38PM (EDT)

An intriguing exercise is trying to read into 8x8 Inc.'s decision to keep the price of its Packet8 VideoPhone at at $99 following a promotional program. 8x8 said the decision is prompted by "favorable consumer demand" to a plan that is part a $19.95 a month, two-year service contract. The key question is how much of a hardware subsidy 8x8 is offering to attract consumers. The company believes the two-year contract concept is the right way to go given its success in the wireless phone business. Maybe this is the right way to go for 8x8, which was recently rated as offering the highest quality VOIP service. With competition mounting from all sides, 8x8 needs a competitive edge to stay viable. Otherwise, it will be destined to be a niche player - if it already isn't.
Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos

Rogers-Primus Technical Issues?
by Mark Evans on April 29, 2005 08:56AM (EDT)

According to Rogers Cable's Michael Lee, there are problems with Primus Canada's VOIP software - which could account for QoS issues. QoS is becoming a bigger issue as VOIP service providers such as Vonage complain their packets being blocked to de-prioritized by broadband network operators. Lee said there are no regulations to stop this kind of behaviour, and currently no plans to implement packet prioritization policies. It is interesting Lee gave Rogers with some wiggle room in the future to do tiered service if push comes to shove. While it's tempting for a carrier or cableco to favor their own applications and services, the best product should be allowed to rule the roost. If Rogers' VOIP service, which will come out by "mid-year", can't compete with Vonage, then Rogers needs to improve its offering. The silver lining for any network provider is the consumer has to pay them for the broadband connection, which gives the provider the opportunity to promote Web-based services and applications, including voice. On another VOIP note, PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff is getting some flack and some praise for a column he wrote on why he doesn't have VOIP at home. He cites reasons such as 911 access, local number portability and the chance of a power outage. While I have VOIP in my office, I haven't switched over in my home. Why? Perhaps the biggest reason is the cost of telephone service is reasonable in Canada so I haven't been totally swayed by the marketing messages of VOIP yet. Another reason is the aggravation of switching carriers given how busy our lives are these days. While I can keep my existing number, I'm not sure my wife would be thrilled if we had to survive on using a cell phone until our number was ported over.
Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos

Nortel Talks Numbers
by Mark Evans on April 29, 2005 08:16AM (EDT)

While Nortel will file its 2004 fourth-quarter and annual results today with the SEC, analysts will have to wait until 8 a.m. Monday for a conference call with CEO Bill Owens and CFO Peter Currie. It is certainly not the best scenario for analysts who likely have to spend the weekend pouring over financial statments - if they are actually available - to prepare for the conference call.
To appease the analyst community, Nortel would do itself a lot of good by holding a lenghty call to allow for plenty of questions. The 25-minute, four-question conference call earlier this week to announce the US$448-million acquisition of PEC Solutions Inc. left much to be desired.
Perhaps Nortel is so focused on internal processes, it has lost touch with external perception. It's out there and it's becoming a factor if the Nortel's failure to win any of the US$19 billion BT contract is any indication.
Leave Comment | Permanent Link | Cosmos

Leonardo Faoro - The VoIP Weblog

Friday, April 29, 2005
Michigan Joins the Legal Dogpile on Vonage
Posted Apr 29, 2005, 4:59 PM ET by Ted Wallingford

Michigan is legally threatening Vonage, claiming the startup VoIP carrier intentionally misled consumers by not providing “enough” notice to its customers that 911 call routing needs to be activated before users can access the emergency dispatch capabilities of Vonage.

Michigan isn’t exactly known for being at the forefront of telecom theory—and this move reinforces that fact. It would appear more likely for the Detroit Tigers to win the A.L. Central than it is for Michigan to become a flowering hotspot for high-tech communications. And while I do hope the Tigers make it to the playoffs, it pains me to rip on Michigan because it’s where I was born.

But, really, I don’t see how state governments suing IP telecom operators is going to improve E911 compliance. Quite the contrary, I don’t even believe the idea that a majority of VoIP subscribers “don’t realize they can’t call 911” using their service. To me, it woudl seem that an early adopter who’s savvy enough to jump on the VoIP bandwagon during the industry’s infancy is in a very well-informed minority, indeed. So what’s all the fuss about, Mr. Attorney General?

I have two questions about all this. First, why Vonage? There are plenty of VoIP carriers out there. Second, why not push for legislation to regulate disclosure rather than going the judicial route? Apparently, as was the case in Minnesota last year, attorneys general would rather compete in the arena of the injunctive and punitive—that is, courts—than in the arena of ideas. *sigh*

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Martin Geddes - Telepocalypse

OPINION:// Open and shut case

Having spent too much time in airports and on planes again recently, I’ve been pondering the open-vs.-closed issue for networks.
We often get confused by the words we use, or the lack of them. For example, is the word “Skype” denoting a company, a product, a verb, a network, a protocol, or all of the above? Similar considerations led me earlier to coin the word “Vob” to describe the network of provisionless open SIP-speaking telephony nodes in distinction from the SIP protocol itself. (For instance, just because it’s SIP doesn’t mean it’s telephony or the Vob. SIP is used for other stuff besides the Vob.)
Sometimes the network is merely an emergent phenomenon, such as the Internet.
It has been argued that the term “Internet” is really a synonym for the transitive web of social agreements to transit IP packets, as opposed to any concrete thing. We could change the protocol (and with IPv6, we would) whilst retaining the social agreement, and it’s still the Internet.
(Thus the definig attribute of “Internetness” can’t be determined by solely technical observations — you have to look at the social and economic agreement to see if something is really “on the Internet”. If your ISP’s terms prevent you from acting as a transit, you’re only an associate member.)
Other protocols, such as SMTP, give rise to similar confusion. Are you really “doing email” when you send a message inside your corporation using a protocol other than SMTP? And what if you aren’t able to relay that message to all the rest of the world? We don’t have a word to describe the “SMTPNet”, so people don’t really notice when they’re only being given partial access to it.
Is there an open network of blogs (such as this one) able to accept trackback pings? The Trackbackosphere?
Ted Shelton spots the idea of a storage-centric network. There is an implicit network of devices that are capable of transmitting and playing tracks purchased through iTunes. This is a closed network. We don’t have a name for it, although we intuitively understand it.
I recently saw similar confusion over IMS.
For the uninitiated, this is the carriers getting together to plan a universe of smart network elements upon which you will be induced to become hopelessly dependent and pay eternally with your soul and wallet. But IMS is just a technology; what’s the network? Will there be one IMSNET? Kindasortof, since the spec talks about foreign agents and roaming.
But won’t the carriers want to differentiate their service offerings? So will there be lots of little IMS-speaking networks with local and mutually incomprehensible dialects? At least we know whatever the outcome, it’ll be closed.
(As an aside, the option value of an IMS network seems very low, whereas an IP network is practically unbounded except by capacity.
Lord knows what the carriers plan to do to make this vision compelling — or compulsory — to their customers.)
BitTorrent is a protocol, although you often see people get confused and think it’s a network. There are as many BitTorrent networks as their are tracker sites. Most are “semi-open” — anyone can become a client, although the content of the server may be restricted.
I’m sure there are plenty of darknet torrent nodes too, which are completely closed. Napster was very (too!) open; KaZaA is pretty open still.
So, what determines whether we get an open or closed network architecture? I’m not sure, and don’t have any research, but I do have some hypotheses.
I suspect that there is no simple answer, but rather a basket of competing forces.
There are (at least) two forces pushing towards a closed architecture.
Firstly there is the need to preserve the integrity of the network.
For Apple, “integrity” means copyright control. For Skype it means controlling telephone spam. For KaZaA it means battling poisoned content distributed by the RIAA and MPAA. The deciding factor seems to be a “before/after” switch: is the damage done as soon as the “bad” message is received, or can the badness be filtered out later? If I can copy the iTunes file, the damage is done; too late to verify if it has remained in (RIAA-)safe hands.
The interruption can’t be undone. The poisoned file can maybe be filtered out later, hence the permeable architecture of most file-sharing sites.
E-mail can use after-the-event filtering based on message content; telephony cannot.
The second factor is creating a consistency of experience. If you control all the nodes, you can assure senders of the experience that receivers will enjoy.
In Skype, for example, you know how the ringing experience will unfold, what sort of “caller ID” they’ll see, and what filtering rules everyone has access to.
That didn’t exist on the Vob. [After I wrote this, but before I posted, I saw a similar sentiment on Jeff Pulver’s blog. But fixing compatibility and consistency doesn’t automatically give the Vob parity with Skype in the user’s eyes, IMNVHO.]
Pushing towards openness is the option value of the network — its “stupidity”. SIP is a kinda crazy hybrid.
It’s a flexible technology. But it’s hardly what you would call a “stupid network” approach.
Just take a look at the abstract from the RFC.
SIP makes use of elements called proxy servers to help route requests to the user’s current location, authenticate and authorize users for services, implement provider call-routing policies, and provide features to users. SIP also provides a registration function that allows users to upload their current locations for use by proxy servers.
Lots of tightly coupled functions in cental nodes, with some stateful sauce sprinkled on top for added flavour.
(Has anyone else noticed that you can get 50% of the benefit of SIP for 2% of the cost using dynamic DNS?)
Whilst the remaining flexibility has had an unfortunate effect of creating chaos for users, it still makes it quite a useful toolkit to plunder for building your closed network. The temptation to fix a few of the wrinkles and holes will result in a proprietary dialect each time.
Skype’s basic framework is only as flexible as Skype’s internal coding team. But the API enables localised customisation without compromising the integrity of the core network. SMTP enabled the emergence of hundreds of types of clients and dozens of mail servers; if it hadn’t been so flexible and open, it wouldn’t have succeeded.
Completing the picture is the level of market power the owner of a closed network has over its users; the amount of tribute demanded as a consequence; and the availability of viable alternatives.
I’m pretty sure I’ve not captured the whole picture here.
I’d be interested to hear reader feedback on what drives networks to be open or closed, or references to academic study on the matter.
Hmmm … I wonder what’s the future of openness and mobile operators? I rather liked this quote on the matter, if in a somewhat restricted context:
I believe in the end open distribution models will win. In a way mobile operators are like Michael Gorbachev in the Soviet Union in 1988: they are already preparing to promote perestroika in an effort to control the explosive market forces. Eventually even that will fail because the consumers will vote with their wallets. With some luck we might even see the iTunes phone one day, ‘Carrier willing’.
Ah, the irony of it.
The carriers will be forced to open so we can enjoy our closed iTunes and Skype networks.
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Richard Stastny VoIP and ENUM

Austrian Regulator NOT"unfathomable"
Thilo Salmon posts on his blog about the "unfathomable" aspects of the Austrian VoIP regulation. I consider this very unfair, because the Austrian Regulator is one of the most advanced wordwide regarding VoIP and innovative services in general. Not by coincidence Austria was the first country to launch an ENUM trial and to start commercial service with ENUM. One should also not forget that the regulator has to follow the law in force and tries his best. The Austrian Regulator is also monitoring the European and international discussion regarding VoIP intensively. And one should not forget: a regulator should not act in favor of any operator, but in favor for the customer and the economy as a whole (by law).

In addition, the Guidelines for VoIP Service Providers of the 2nd Consultation on VoIP I referenced in a previous post is as its name suggests a consultation only and everybody is invited to make comments. It also is not self-evident that this draft guidelines are not in German, but in English, and comments are accepted in both English and German.

Thilo is also criticizing the Austrian numbering ordinance (KEM-V), released last summer and which is one of the most advanced, including already VoIP and ENUM.

Before I go into a detailed response, I have to explain especially for my readers used to the North American Numbering plan, that first Austria is not Australia and therefore a very small country.
That means that the difference between local (=regional) calls and "long-distance" calls is marginal, that local calls are also metered and charged per minute, and most important, mobile phones are behind special number ranges (non-geographic numbers, and are charged with much higher rates than calls to fixed lines. In exchange there is no air-time.
I consider this un-fair, but it was one reason for the tremendous growth in mobile phone usage. In Austria there are more mobile phones already than fixed lines. An example for the tarifs:

One minute in prime time local=4,9c, national=5,9c and to mobile 21c
One minute in non-prime local=1,35c, national=2,6c and to mobile still 21c
(all prices in Eurocent)
There are zillions of differnt prices and bundles and free minutes, so the above just should give you the basic idea.

Now to Thilos rant:
According to KEM-V these numbers are to be used to provide a service 'at a fixed location' with the additional obligation for the communication service to use technical measures to enforce on site usage.
This is not unusual in other countries too, Thilo should basically start complaining in Germany ;-)

And RTR basically thinks it is not sufficient to check a box with subscription confirming that you are a resident (ala Skype in France)

For the avoidance of doubt: I support Thilo's request that virtual geographic numbers are available for non-residents too, because the related problems can be solved. Anybody else supporting this is requested to submit a comment to RTR in time.

But the next statements from Thile are either half-truth or simply wrong:
Alternative numbering resources are available, but incur higher costs for the calling party
This is only partially true. Currently the alternative numbering ranges (0)720 and (0)780 (will be available and routed! from Mid of May) will be charged the same rate as calls to the nationwide corporate numbers, which is between regional and national calls. Since Austria is not really a big country, the difference marginal, as we have seen. Calls from mobile phones charge the same rate to all Austrian fixed numbers anyway.

Since calls to mobile numbers are much more expensive (as we have seen), the Austrians are used to high tariffs for certain number ranges, so these prices are considered cheap. Calls from out of Austria to these numbers are charged like calls to geographic numbers and NOT like calls to mobile numbers. If not, you have a talk with your originating operator.
o are almost never accessible from outside of Austria (not likely to change soon)
o may not be accessible from all Austrian networks (all networks are required to route them in theory, but let us not ignore reality.
Now this is a nice one, so lets check whats going on here.

Calls to (0)720 are almost ALWAYS accessible from outside Austria, at least as long as your operator sticks to normal routing. My +43 720 number is at least reachable from Germany (fixed and mobile) and also from
UK (fixed and mobile) - I have verified this. This is valid for any country, as long as the originating operator chooses to use the international transit network for any call to +43.

If of course an originating operator chooses not to route this number range, or chooses to route this number range or all calls to +43 via TDM or IP by-pass directly to a national Austrian operator, and now this national Austrian operator is NOT routing this number range, who is to blame?

This is the reason why (0)720 cannot be reached by sipgate and Skype.

So please talk to your national VoIP gateway operator, wake him up, because he is sleeping and loosing traffic and money and tell him to open up the number range.
o bear the psychologial disadvantage of "feeling non-local" to the calling party
The feeling of non-local is not really an issue in Austria (see above) and not at all for non-Austrians
The immediate implications for extraterritorial communication services providing access through 3rd party networks are:
o customers migrating to extraterritorial communication services are required to renumber
This is nonsense: customers "migrating" to "extraterritorial" communication (I think you mean nomadic services here) can only be existing residents now having geographic numbers. If you read the proposed guide carefully, you will see that these customers do not need to migrate. They may port their numbers to
VoIP and also use the geographic number in a nomadic way. They only need in addition a non-geographic number if they want to make out-calls to display this non-geographic number to emergency services as an indication for not being at the home location.

This makes sense as long as we do not have implemented other means of presenting location information to the emergency services.

Since the regulator in Austria does NOT charge (currently) for numbering resources (like in Germany), it is up to the provider if he charges in addition for this number.

So geographic numbers are basically a problem for non-residents and they may as well choose a non-geographic number from the beginning.

Rich Tehrani - Rich Tehrani

April 29, 2005
Our Best Podcast Yet

I think we really nailed this week’s communications and technology podcast. It might be the most professional one we have done to date. Of course I noticed that I didn’t mention who I was throughout the entire recording but at least I mentioned my blog is at Some of the topics discussed are iPod thefts on NY subways, the Qwest saga, VoIP videogames, Cisco and IBM focusing on speech technology and finally, bicycle powered VoIP. Take a listen. I Hope you like it.
Posted by rtehrani at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Probably the best product around that no one knows about is SERoutlookAccess. I love this handy utility but have a few caveats about it. Let’s start off by saying I have a mailbox on a busy server with about 500,000 e-mails on it and I receive up to or more than 1,000 e-mails daily. I live in Outlook so I need a powerful search utility.

I used LookOut for over a year and it was very helpful. Recently it started crashing often so I switched to Google desktop search. Google has a great product but the interface is lousy. I am in Outlook and have to go to a browser to get access to Google’s results.

What SER does that the others don’t is they return the results of your query in Outlook. You can use a viewing pane to sift through results. Both Google and LookOut require you to open the e-mails to achieve the same effect.

The one drawback is speed. The software runs too slow on my machine to be the only search mechanism I have. The reason is it autoupdates frequently on my machine. This could just be my machine – I am investigating this mystery.

The company has been great about supporting me but my schedule has been too hectic to get back to them about whether there is a setting I can modify to make the product work better on my PC.

Searching in Outlook is a nightmare and SERoutlookAccess has the makings of a killer e-mail companion. If the speed can be improved, it will be a necessary requirement on every desktop. The company offers a 30-day trial and after that the price is $99 with the potential for lower pricing in volume. Is it worth it? If you live in Outlook and it runs quickly on your machine, spend the money. It is indispensable.
Posted by rtehrani at 08:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
See You at Interop
The show it seems is no longer N+I but now Interop. The changing name is like a changing era in networking. I wish the event good luck with its new name and new branding. I am happy to be speaking next week. Tuesday in fact. Here are the details. Hope to see you there.

NetWorld+Interop - Las Vegas, NV "The Role of Security in Achieving Five Nines for VOIP" - May 3, 2005, 11:30-12:30

VoIP applications require more advanced network services than regular data applications in order to be implemented successfully. And voice applications require a secured network environment to ensure a level of availability that satisfies the familiar "five nines" telephony performance metric. This session will describe new product, service and architectural best practices that can better protect IP telephony systems against threats, and what is required to assure that VoIP satisfies critical infrastructure criteria.

The link above wasn’t working for me at “blog time” so try this link instead. SC02.
Posted by rtehrani at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Packet8 Demand Increases
That videophone is such a differentiator and the company claims the $99 price-point is what was needed to create strong demand. What was an introductory price is now sticking. In order to take advantage of the offer, you need to sign a 2-year contract at $19.95/month.
Posted by rtehrani at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Bicycle Powered VoIP
No I am not kidding. I just heard from a reliable source that a company called Inveneo is working with charities in Uganda to allow for pedal-powered bikes that allow the rider to communicate via VoIP with others. The next time you hear heavy breathing when you pick up the phone – don’t hang up… It could just be a friend or relative from Africa phoning to ask about the weather.
Here is a diagram of how it all works:

Posted by rtehrani at 09:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dameon D. Welch-Abernathy - PhoneBoy's Blog

Is VoIP for Everyone?
A few VoIP bloggers got their panties in a twist when they read the Lance Ulanoff article saying that VoIP wasn't for everyone. Yeah, what else is new? While I do not disagree with the premise, and neither does Andy or Om, the reasoning he uses for justification doesn't seem sound. The folks at VoIP Weblog think it's elaborate, yet mostly fictitious, assertions against broadband VoIP services. They are also wise to point out that The Digital Goddess Kim Komando also made similar assertions.

The 911 thing is kind of a biggie (though he was wrong on some of the details about it), the availability thing is certainly valid (though let's not forget at least half the population has a perfectly good cell phone to use for backup). Security issues are a non-starter for me (ever heard of alligator clips on an analog lone). Only a handful of the 1,100 or so VoIP companies out there are related to one of the "big" phone companies, and LNP is available with many providers.

I think I've gotta agree with Om in that people like Lance and Kim write for a mass-audience. The mass audience doesn't want to be involved with the minutae of VoIP that those of us who use VoIP and even blog about it are familiar with. On the other hand, some additional fact-checking would have uncovered a different set of facts they could have presented.

The value proposition of a consumer VoIP service is: features and cost savings. Reliability of both the VoIP service and the underlying Internet connection isn't there yet. The question you have to ask yourself is: given the limitations and the cost savings, is it worth it?

In my family, the answer is no. I have two PSTN lines from Qwest in addition to my various VoIP lines. Why? Reliability. For my wife who isn't technically savvy, though not afraid of technology, she just wants the phone to work. I don't think it's quite ready to pass the wife test in my house. I keep a seperate PSTN line for work-related stuff, and because now I've got DSL on it.

My one piece of advice to you is this: consider your options carefully.

Kevin Werback - werblog

Wiki Yippee
Socialtext, for which I serve on the advisory board, just announced they have secured venture funding.
The company's founders basically came together at my first Supernova conference. It has been great to watch the startup grow, and sign on some impressive customers for its wiki-based lightweight collaboration platform. Now, the real fun begins!
Posted by Kevin Werbach at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


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