Saturday, May 21, 2005

Money For Nothing, VoIP's Not Free

Andy Abramson - VoIP Watch

Paul Kapustka thinks Vonage may be the winner, in a weird sort of way from the FCC's decision to implement E-911.

When it comes to the issue of providing 911 emergency services for Voice over IP, market leader Vonage Holdings Corp. may have lost a battle Thursday while also gaining a significant edge over the rest of its competitors in the nascent market for independent broadband voice services.
Sure, the FCC's knee-jerk mandate to require E911 services for VoIP will cost Vonage a big chunk of change in the short term. But unlike its startup competitors, Vonage does have cash to burn, perhaps enough to distance it from other independents who may struggle with the added infrastructure costs necessary to support 911 connections.
Other winners in Thursday's decision were pure IP-to-IP plays, including Skype and Jeff Pulver's Free World Dialup service. The thoughtful Mr. Pulver had plenty to say about the FCC's moves, as well as a thought as to how such regulations might finally force VoIP providers off the "cheaper telephone" marketing train and onto a truly innovative track of IP-based communications.
But for the short term, the big winners Thursday were the RBOCs, who are getting the kind of payback they expected when they backed the re-election efforts of the Bush administration. In his first important opinion as FCC chairman, Kevin Martin went out of his way to praise the incumbents, saying: "I am extremely encouraged by and commend the efforts of the Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) in permitting VoIP providers access to their 911 network."
Leaving out, of course, the fact that they had to be dragged there, lawyers kicking and screaming all the way.


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