Thursday, February 26, 2004

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Hearing
Full Committee Hearing
Tuesday, February 24 2004 - 9:30 AM - SR - 253

US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation:

Description: Members will hear testimony on the appropriate federal and state regulatory treatment of VOIP, including obligations related to intercarrier compensation, disability access, E-911, universal service, and assistance to law enforcement. Senator McCain will preside. ....

Southafrica: Telkom conduct found 'anti-competitive' | business news Telkom conduct found 'anti-competitive':

Posted Wed, 25 Feb 2004
The Competition Commission has found telecommunications giant Telkom's conduct against value added network service (VANS) providers to be anti-competitive and has referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal for determination.
This follows an investigation by the Commission into complaints lodged in 2002 against Telkom by the South African Value Added Network Services Association (SAVA), Omnilink and others.
The commission has also asked that Telkom pay an administrative fine of 10 percent of its annual revenue, which was R37.6-billion in the year ending March 2003. ......

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

VoIP players team up against regulation
By Ben Charny
February 23, 2004, 8:35 AM PT

ZDNet: Printer Friendly - VoIP players team up against regulation:

Several technology giants announced initiatives Monday to ensure a hands-off regulatory approach to the Internet phone market.

The Voice Over Internet Coalition is among the first regulatory advocacy groups for the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry, which has managed so far without much professional lobbying help to avoid being subject to the thicket of state and federal telephone rules. .....

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

OFCOM Consultation
Numbering arrangements for Voice over Broadband services

Numbering arrangements for Voice over Broadband services

OFCOM today released a consultation on numbering issues for Voice over Broadband (VoB). It includes a lengthy discussion of whether the allocation of geographic numbers to VoB service providers who are not traditional telephony providers will lead to consumer confusion.

It comes just ahead of the meeting on VoB to be conducted by OFCOM in London tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Legal Intercept on VoIP

It is not only Skype (see in the article), it is all pure VoIP calls
not going via centralized switches, only if a call is originating or terminating on the PSTN, you may intercept it.

Of course one could route a to be intercepted call via a special
server, but this would not be possible to be unnoticed by the
intercepted (another requirement)

So the only possibility to intercept a IP Communication is in the

Can They Hear You Now? - How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't). By David S.�Bennahum: "Can They Hear You Now?
How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't).
By David S. Bennahum
Posted Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004, at 2:49 PM PT

The Federal Communications Committee and the Justice Department are at loggerheads over a new problem in the war on terror: how to listen in on Internet phone calls. Thanks to the blistering growth of VoIP�Voice over Internet Protocol�services, which have been adopted by approximately 10 million people worldwide so far, law enforcement officials now worry that wiretapping may one day become technically obsolete. If traditional phone lines go the way of the horse and carriage, will the FBI still be able to listen in on Internet phone calls? How would it go about tapping one? Is it even possible? "

USF - Tax on phone numbers

Nice idea, but what about domain names and URIs? If IP Communications is the Universal Service
of the future, a tax should be fair. Maybe one should consider a tax for BB access.

In ENUM, a phone number is a domain name in On the other hand, is the USF state, federal or
global? Who get a tax for .com?

Both phone numbers and domain names are global resources, e.g. E.164 phone nummers are assigned by
the ITU-T to the country, which in turn assign them to operators, which in turn assign them to users.
An end-user never owns a phone number, he has only the right to use. Same for domain names.

If there are taxes on phone numbers and domain names, maybe the final "owners" ITU-T and ICANN
may get some ideas ;-)

FCC commissioners advocate Universal Service changes: "FCC commissioners advocate Universal Service changes

By Donny Jackson, Feb 11 2004

Significant revisions are needed in the funding of Universal Service in the near term to compensate for changes in calling technologies and usage patterns, FCC commissioners said yesterday during an investor conference sponsored by The Precursor Group.
'The Universal Service funding mechanism�needs to be updated and revisited,' said Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, who also heads the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service that is expected to recommend a solution to the FCC by the end of the month. " ....

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Ladenschluss - Shop Closing Hours

Communications Workers of America: "CWA Fighting for Consumers and Jobs in VoIP Debate
February 9, 2004
CWA is gathering allies in a campaign at federal and state levels to subject companies providing voice telephony over the Internet to the same rules and obligations as traditional telecommunications providers"

Friday, February 20, 2004

Jeff's Statement to the FCC's Memorandum Opinion and Order

Hi All,

After carefully reviewing the text of the FCC's Memorandum Opinion and
Order (Order) with regard to the Petition, (posted to:, I now realize that
February 12, 2004 will be known as one of the landmark days in the history
of communications. By declaring Free World Dialup's (FWD) end-to-end IP
communications as an unregulated interstate information service, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set the first critical brick
of our broadband future, affirming its commitment to keep the Internet
free from unnecessary regulation.

Chairman Powell recently remarked that the Commission's decisions on Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will be the most important in 100 years of
regulatory history. This is not an understatement. The text of the Order
provides much-needed regulatory clarity on existing law, clearing the way
for investment and innovation in broadband applications and services, some
we have yet to imagine.

I understand the complexity of the decisions that still await the
Commission as it embarks on its comprehensive VoIP rulemaking, and I
reaffirm my commitment to work with policymakers on these difficult
issues. In the meantime, I commend the FCC for keeping the future of the
Internet where it belongs - in the hands of consumers.

I look forward to also actively work with other regulatory authorities
around the world as the IP Communications Industry continues to evolve.

Best regards,


Remark by Richard:

But all others still have a long way to go, especially if we do not want to have
two disjunct systems. We also believe in IP Communications as the future universal
communications service, but as long as the PSTN is around, and interworking between
the two systems is necessary for the benefit of the users of the both systems (and practically
most users do not care about technology, they care about usability and benefits for them).

To regulate the voice part of IP communications separately if it is interworking with
the PSTN in the same way as the existing fixed line PSTN as Public Available Telefone
Service (PATS) is contra-productive for the fostering of new innovative services.

It is also contra-productive to prevent IP Communications to do useful things like
using E.164 numbers or having access to emergency services just to avoid regulation.

If the mobile phone services would have been treated the same way as VoIP is treated
now by some, mobile phone services would never have been so successful. So the
minimum requirement for the legal treatment of VoIP is to be treated at least in the
same way as mobile phone services.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

ETSI ENUM Plugtest Workshop
24 - 25 February 2004
ETSI Headquarters "

More information, registration and current agenda at:

The contributions submitted sofar may be retrieved from:

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Rynho Zeros Web - Ahora s�: la telefon�a por Internet inicia el despegue:

"Ahora s�: la telefon�a por Internet inicia el despegue
Enviado el Domingo, 25 de Mayo del 2003 (15:01:50) por Xyborg

El desarrollo de los nuevos protocolos SIP y ENUM permite grandes avances en voz sobre IP"

Friday, February 13, 2004

"Pure VoIP Won't Be Regulated, Phone-Like VoIP Might Be"

Comment from Richard:

I have some problems with this decision (see below), although I congratulate Jeff to his personal sucess.
But considering all the recent developments, and seeing it in context, especially the decision by FICORA
on Sonera's Puhekaista Service:
I am not very happy with this development.

In principle I have no problem that Phone-like VoIP might be regulated, the only question is to which extent. I understand that there is some regulations required if VoIP is interworking with the PSTN (e.g. using E.164 numbers, access to emergency services, an fixed lines, etc.). I also understand that if a VoIP is replacing an existing primary line service or PATS , it should have similar regulations then the original service beacuse of customer expectations.

What I do not understand is the extreme position (and simplistic) of FICORA simply stating if you use E.164 numbers in- and outbound, you are PATS, period. Any therefore you have to comply to ALL Universal Service Directives. I understand that the FCC is currently not going down this way, stating that Phone-like Services Might Be regulated, but one never knows. There is also the danger that very different regulations crop up in different countries, and VoIP is from the beginning international or global (and NOT NATIONAL, Alan).

So even if VoIP services originating on geographic fixed lines replacing primary line services are regulated as PATS, all nomadic or mobile VoIP services are not PATS, IN THE SAME WAY ALL MOBILE SERVICES ARE NOT PATS.

I consider it very strange that existing mobile services are explicitely not PATS, but VoIP should be (ok, laws are also a question of lobbying)

I see the following possible developments, which IMHO are dangerous:

1. We may have two phone services, one as IP telephony and one on the PSTN (including carrier VoIP (NGN+3GPP))
2. The PSTN continues using E.164, the other Internet addressing or an own new dialling plan, which would take years to develop consistently
3. The two services are not interworking with each other, or even worse, only by (illegal?) "private"
4. All this would lead primarily to endless customer confusion.
5. Customer confusion leads primarily reluctance of customers to invest (see other "standard" wars)

In effect, this development would hurt both sides:
1. VoIP deployment would be delayed, and there is also the danger that competing numbering plans and implementations would confuse customers even further. We should not forget that all VoIP and IP Communications are still tiny islands in the large PSTN see. But if IPC finally wants to replace the PSTN, IPC need to be an ubiquitous service, therefore cooperation and interworking is necessary. The E.164 numbering plan and ENUM could provide the glue to achieve this goal early.

2. But also the PSTN will be hurt: If the barriers are to high, Telcos will continue to be reluctant to invest in IP technology, even some or parts within the Telcos will like the delay, but this is short sighted.

The customers and especially the business customers will finally go to all-IP (not only because of the price, but also because of superior features) and so VoIP and IP Communications will finally succeed, and the breakdown of the PSTN will come EARLIER then now expected, because there is NO interworking.

Do not forget, IPC can always interwork with the PSTN, but the PSTN can only interwork with the Internet via E.164 and ENUM (that why some poeple in the Internet Community are against ENUM).

Consider a time in the future when 50% of users are on VoIP and 90% already on BB-IP anyway and 50% are on the PSTN. The IP guys then have the global service (there are always ways to reach the PSTN from IP), but the guys on the PSTN are LEFT BEHIND.

First all on both sides will drop the PSTN like a hot potato (see whats going on with the fixed network with 80% mobile) and there will be a rush to move over, especially the grannies to reach their grandchilds living on all-IP since years, and the PSTN will crash.

Conclusion: a decision to strongly regulate all IPC services touching the PSTN will hurt both VoIP and the PSTN, and it also will cause in the short term a serious delay in investment of innovative products.

One way out may be found in the excellent report from Analysys to the European Commission and
at the workshop to be held in Brussels on March 15th. See:

EoC: Richard

TECHDIRT Thursday, February 12th, 2004 @ 10:33AM

As expected, the FCC ruled on the Pulver VoIP petition today, and gave something of a split decision. They claim that "pure" VoIP systems shouldn't be regulated, since they're just like email or any other internet application. However, they're reserving judgment on VoIP systems that more resemble regular phone service, such as Vonage that touch on the PSTN. This seems like something of a cop out, and may be difficult to sustain over time. Most of the "pure" VoIP systems are offering (or planning to offer) gateways that let them connect to the telephone system. Where do they fall along the regulatory spectrum? This would take away the incentive of VoIP providers to connect to regular phone service, creating two different levels of phone service, rather than connecting the two and leading to a more orderly migration. Of course, it still remains to be seen what sorts of regulations they will include for PSTN-connected VoIP. Chances are, they're talking about adding in 911 service and phone-tapping abilities.

theLink - Newsletter:
"CHILE - The Challenges of IP Telephony"

The fact that technology advances faster than its relevant regulations is not new. Over the last few months we have seen proof of this with the arrival of the voice and data integrated transmission system through wide-band, better known as "IP Telephony," which has caused more than one conflict in the Chilean telecommunications market.

In the event that this system is implemented, the public would pay substantially reduced tariffs for telephony services, and, furthermore, users would be able to access such services for a fixed monthly tariff, allowing them to make and receive calls on an unlimited basis. The system might even have a greater impact if, due to its implementation, the concept of a "long distance call" itself disappears, in effect assimilating the cost of any national or international long distance call to a local call, and thus jeopardizing the survival of long distance businesses.

For these reasons, the Undersecretary of Telecommunications (the "Subtel") has shown itself to be very interested in the development of IP Telephony in the country. Subtel's involvement is in accord with its policies to (i) improve access to and the quality of telecommunication services through the promotion of new technologies, and to (ii) make "technological convergence" easier.

However, current telecommunication regulations establish basic restrictions that are difficult to overcome. There is a consensus inside Subtel that IP Telephony service cannot be provided unless the respective service provider has a specific license to do so. Consequently, the fact that IP Telephony is provided using a different technology or protocol does not change its nature as a public telephony service, and does not release the incumbent from its obligation to fulfill all of the requirements established in the regulations in order to provide such a service, including the need to hold a license that expressly authorizes the incumbent to provide telephony services. Subtel has recently initiated proceedings against a telecommunications' incumbent that was providing IP Telephony service without holding the required license.

Several alternatives are currently being analyzed in order to solve the above-mentioned problem. The first involves the possibility of amending the Telecommunications Act to allow any IP Telephony's services provider to render the service without a license. This option is being evaluated by applying a criterion similar to the one currently applicable to the ISP's operations. The second involves the possibility of creating a special license for IP Telephony which should fulfill minimum requirements, but to which the local and long distance telephony regulations would not apply. The third involves the possibility of considering IP Telephony as a data transmission public service. However, this alternative would permit only the making of phone calls, and not the receiving of phone calls.
Presently, at least two telecommunication companies have requested and obtained from Subtel public telephony service licenses in order to operate an IP Telephony system.
Such licenses are still not operational, however, mainly due to the uncertainty that exists with respect to the applicable regulations. It is hoped that a solution will be reached as soon as possible, in consideration that implementing this new system will certainly benefit the customers, who would have access to an additional and less expensive telecommunication alternative.

For more information please contact :;;

BRAZIL - Anatel Proposes Regulations on Digital Telecom Service

On 19th December 2003, the National Telecommunications Agency ("Anatel") submitted for public comment a proposed regulation for the creation of a new telecommunications service denominated Digital Communication Services (the "SCD"). Due to the importance of this new service, which many say is a means to implement competition and universal goals in the fixed telephony market, the initial period for comments was extended to 11th February 2004.
The SCD is a new telecommunications service aimed at enabling public access to digital networks, including the Internet, by carrying digital signals. The SCD license will allow the operator to carry data, voice and any other digital signals.

The SCD must necessarily include (i) the provision of broadband services (above 64 kbit/s) to make feasible to interconnect terminals to digital network access providers and to the Internet; (ii) the provision of access to digital networks and the Internet; and (iii) the management and operation of systems and services. Additionally, SCD may also include, at the service provider's discretion, (i) the provision of terminals and their respective software; and (ii) other types of connection, pursuant to the regulation.

It should be noted that the SCD license may be granted under a public or private regime. Companies operating these services under a public regime must comply with universal service commitments, in addition to quality standards.

The upside of the public license is the option to make use of resources from the Fund for Universal Access to Telecommunications (the "Fust"). The Fust can be used not only to fund the render of the telecommunications service as such, but also for the supply of the terminal equipment, which can be very attractive from a business perspective to the extent that it will allow the offer of the services to a niche of the population that would otherwise be unable to access such services. Fust collected and still available for use is of approximately R$ 2 billion.
Although rather extensive, the regulation approved by Anatel still has many open points. Accordingly, a good deal of contribution is expected to be received from society in general as well as from the major market players involved. Finally, Anatel will soon submit for public comments the General Granting Plan (Plano Geral de Outorgas, or "PGO") and the General Universal Goals Plan (Plano Geral de Metas de Universalização, or the "PGMU"), which regulate in further detail some important aspects of this new service.
For more information please contact :

Thursday, February 12, 2004

F.C.C. Begins Rewriting Rules on Delivery of the Internet:

"February 12, 2004
F.C.C. Begins Rewriting Rules on Delivery of the Internet

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12. The Federal Communications Commission began writing new rules today that officials and industry experts said would profoundly alter both the way the Internet is delivered and used in homes and businesses.
In one set of proceedings, the commission began writing regulations to enable computer users to gain access to the Internet through electric power lines. Consumers will be able to plug their modems directly into the wall sockets just as they do with any garden variety appliance. Officials said the new rules, which are to be completed in the coming months, would enable utilities to offer an alternative to the cable and phone companies and provide an enormous possible benefit to rural communities that are served by the power grid but not by broadband providers.

In a second set of proceedings, commissioners began considering what rules ought to apply to companies offering Internet space and software to enable computer users to send and receive telephone calls.

A majority of the commissioners suggested that the new phone services should have significantly fewer regulatory burdens than traditional phone carriers. The agency also voted 4-to-1 to approve the application of a small Internet company,, asking that its service of providing computer-to-computer phone service not make it subject to the same regulations and access charges as the phone carriers.

Industry experts say that neither the phone service nor the broadband delivery systems offered by electric companies will take any sizable market share for at least the next two years. But in moving forward with the new regulations, they said the agency was reducing regulatory uncertainty and encouraging major companies and investors to make investments in the new technologies to enable them to move to market more quickly.

The F.C.C. chairman, Michael K. Powell, and his two Republican colleagues on the commission said the agency's decisions on the two sets of rules and the Pulver application would ultimately transform the telecommunications industry and the Internet.

"This represents a commitment of the commission of bringing tomorrow's technology today," Mr. Powell said. He added that the rules governing the new phone services were intended to make them as ubiquitous as e-mail, and at possibly a significantly lower cost than traditional phones, since the services would have lower regulatory costs.

A Republican commissioner, Kathleen Q. Abernathy, said that the agency and industry "stands at the threshold of a profound transformation of the telecommunications marketplace" as more companies — including such giants as AT&T and Verizon — move from circuit-switching phone technology to Internet-based technology.

But one Democratic commissioner, Michael J. Copps, raised objections to the Pulver petition and questioned the underlying themes of deregulation in the two rulemaking proceedings. He said that they had set the agency on a course that could effectively rewrite the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and make it easier for the incumbent phone companies to escape necessary regulation.

Mr. Copps also criticized the majority of the commission for rejecting a request by law enforcement agencies that the F.C.C. first work out the legal and technical problems in monitoring phone calls over the Internet before granting Pulver's application or considering new rules for the Internet-based phone services.

"I believe it is reckless to proceed, and I cannot support this decision at this time," he said of the Pulver application. "The majority apparently prefers to act now and fix law enforcement issues later — along with universal service, public safety, disability access and a host of other policies we are only beginning to address."

Mr. Powell replied pointedly to Mr. Copps's criticism that the agency was rewriting the Telecommunications Act by offering a new deregulatory climate that the old phone companies might seek to take advantage of.

"We can talk about rewriting the Telecommunications Act," he said. "But the Telecommunications Act is nine years old and it is being rewritten by technology."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

15. 03.2003 - Open Workshop on IP voice and associated convergent services
To: [...]
Subject: Open Workshop on IP voice and associated convergent services
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 09:11:46 +0100

Feel free to inform others:

15.March - Open Workshop on IP voice and associated convergent services

The European Commission will hold a workshop in Brussels on an independent study carried out for the Commission by Analysys. Analysys will present the findings of their study on Internet protocol (IP) voice and associated convergent services.

For details of registration and for a copy of the report:

Americas Network - The unrealized Dream of Voice Peering:

End to end voice over IP may be coming, but backbone providers will decide just how fast.

February 1, 2004
By: Dan Sweeney
America's Network

Comment by Henry Sinnreich: "This article shows the confusion in the market about VoIP peering, confusion that will be blown away by ENUM-SIP, when we make it happen."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Get Up to Speed on VoIP | CNET

CNET has published a series of interesting articles on VoIP, interviews
with analysts, executives, etc

Saturday, February 07, 2004

SMTP+SPF: Sender Permitted From

-reduces email address forgery
-and makes it easier to identify spams, worms, and viruses
-when domain owners designate sending mail exchangers in DNS, so that
-SMTP servers can distinguish legitimate mail from spam
-by verifying the envelope sender domain against client IP
-before any message data is transmitted.

Also to be used by SIP?

Mummert Consulting

Presseinfo: Kein Geschaeft mit UMTS im Jahr 2004

Hamburg, den 06.02.04

Die Mobilfunktechnik UMTS wird sich trotz der teilweise aufgebauten Netze auch im laufenden Jahr nicht am Markt durchsetzen. Stattdessen dominieren klassische Übertragungstechnologien wie DSL oder Funknetze für den Internet-Zugang, auch WLAN genannt. Das ergibt der TELCO Trend, eine aktuelle Studie von Mummert Consulting und Inworks, einem Spezialisten für Umfrage- und Beschwerdemanagement-Software, auf Basis einer Umfrage unter Fach- und Führungskräften der deutschen Telekommunikationsbranche.

Mit der Note 3,48 landet UMTS im Ranking der wichtigsten Übertragungstechnologien abgeschlagen im unteren Mittelfeld. Die Branche ist nach wie vor skeptisch, ob sich dieser Mobilfunkstandard mit hoher Übertragungsrate etabliert – und wenn, wann das einmal sein wird. Die größte Bedeutung messen die Experten auf der Skala von 1 bis 6 der DSL-Technologie über die klassischen Telefonverbindungen zu: Sie erhält die Note 1,82, gefolgt von WLAN auf dem zweiten Rang mit der Note 2,35.

Überraschend gut fällt die Platzierung von Voice over IP (VoIP) aus, also der Telefonie per Internet. Noch ist diese Technologie ein klares Nischenprodukt, doch für das Jahr 2004 zeichnet sich laut der Expertenbefragung ein klarer Anstieg der Bedeutung ab. Konkret kommt VoIP auf die Note 3,18 und landet damit noch deutlich vor UMTS im oberen Mittelfeld. Schon in den vergangenen Monaten hat sich VoIP für Konzerne und größere Mittelständler zu einer interessanten Alternative zum Festnetz gemausert.

Klares Schlusslicht unter den Übertragungstechnologien ist Powerline – der Internet-Zugang über die Steckdose. Mit einer Note von 4,62 beurteilen die befragten Fach- und Führungskräfte diese Technologie als noch unbedeutender als DSL per Satellit oder gar den Bündelfunk. Nachdem der Essener RWE-Konzern als namhafter Anbieter aus dem Powerline-Geschäft ausgestiegen ist, scheint die Technologie zumindest in Deutschland keine Zukunft mehr zu haben.

Die wichtigsten Übertragungstechnologien 2004 (Schulnoten):

1. DSL (1,82)

2. WLAN (2,35)

3. GSM (2,77)

4. GPRS (2,89)

5. Bluetooth (3,14)

6. VoIP (3,18)

7. DSL via Kabel (3,44)

8. UMTS (3,48)

9. WAP (4,03)

10. Sky-DSL (4,23)

11. Bündelfunk (4,45)

12. Powerline (4,62)

Für den TELCO Trend hat Mummert Consulting gemeinsam mit Inworks, einem Spezialisten für Um-frage- und Beschwerdemanagement-Software, 286 Fach- und Führungskräfte der Telekommunikationsbranche im November 2003 zur Entwicklung ihres Marktes im Jahr 2004 online befragt.

Friday, February 06, 2004

From Daiwa EuroTelcoblog No. 21 Friday, 6th February, 2004: VoIP

VoIP = Victory over Incumbent Protests?

Following yesterday's announcement from the FCC that on 12th February it
would vote on the Free World Dialup petition from February 2003 (see PTT
Pulse, issue 54, 16 April, 2003, for a detailed summary of the various
industry and law enforcement arguments for and against), both the
DowJones Newswires and the LA Times are running articles today
speculating that the Commissioners are going to vote next Thursday that
FWD is not subject to legacy regulation. Both articles report that an
FCC pledge to rewrite wiretap laws in order to satisfy FBI/DEA/DoJ
concerns has led to the DoJ withdrawing its opposition to the petition.

The FWD petition raises a range of complex legal and technological
issues, but the important thing to remember is that it is a petition for
declaratory ruling, essentially requesting that the FCC formally state
that the FWD service itself is not telephony, and thus not subject to
the access charge regime, USO, or other burdens normally imposed on
carriers. It is also important to note that the FWD service does not
generate revenue from its users, nor does it interconnect directly with
the PSTN, both of which factors we believe may have some bearing on a
positive decision by the FCC. We think it is safe to assume that a
positive ruling in this case would squelch further pressure on similar
services which do not interconnect with the PSTN, though the
implications for services which do allow this are unclear at this point.

Nevertheless, we think that a ruling in support of FWD would: a) be
taken by many (rightly or wrongly) as a signal of a more benign stance
toward the entire VoIP issue on the part of the FCC; b) weaken future
arguments against the new generation operators from the incumbents
(which were quite vociferous in the case of the FWD petition); and c)
partially allay the uncertainties of potential investors in the sector.
Most of the regulatory issues involved in the US framework are not
relevant in Europe, and as we have written before, we think market entry
by the access-independent VoIP players into the European markets will be
a much more straightforward affair on the regulatory side. However, from
a sentiment standpoint in Europe, the boost which a positive FCC ruling
might give the industry in the US should have positive knock-ons in
heightening awareness of the issue in Europe, just as more
forward-looking incumbents and regulators start looking at how they are
positioned for the arrival of services in the near future.

Vonage funds European expansion

As if to underline the ongoing momentum of the sector and mounting
investor interest in it, Vonage today announced the closing of a $40m
financing round led by 3i and co-led by Meritech, both newcomers to
Vonage. Existing investors New Enterprise Associates and Vonage
management also participated, making the capital raised $103m in total.
The press release confirms that the funding is to support expansion and
service development in the US, Canada, UK and Switzerland. We expect to
see Vonage launching in the UK by the end of Q1, and while we have seen
BT move first with voice-over-broadband, we think there are holes in its
marketing strategy which Vonage and others will look to exploit in
marketing their own services (free on-net calls, richness of features,
portability of service). It is going to be an interesting year.

Elsewhere, our grapevine has very helpfully come back with some pointers on the identity of the mystery Nordic SIP start-up, to whom we hope to speak next week.

FCC likely to limit Net telephony regulations | CNET

"The Federal Communications Commission has reached an agreement with the FBI permitting the commission to approve an Internet telephony company's request to limit regulation of its day-to-day operations. "

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Telia launches broadband telephony


Today (Feb. 5) Telia is launching its Telia Broadband Telephony service. In addition to telephony, the service will feature a chat function, videocalls and the possibility to send messages. Subscribers to the service can make phone calls free to each other, while calls outside the service will cost like an ordinary phone call. "

Comment from James Enck:
Daiwa EuroTelcoblog No. 20 Thursday, 5th February - TeliaSonera launches broadband telephony in Sweden

Anyone with the stamina to make it to page 104 of our recent sector piece
will recall that, on our multi-factor company rating sheet for TeliaSonera,
we gave the company a 1 rating for adaptability. Today brings another
development in support of this view. The company has just announced this
morning that it is to launch a SIP-based broadband telephony service in
Sweden, branded Telia Broadband Telephony.

Like the BT Broadband Voice service announced last year, it is an
operator-independent service, and it appears to us that the company may be
trying to use it to reclaim some revenue share among users of the municipal
fiber networks and CPS customers. Also as with BT, the charging structure is
set so as to avoid cannibalization - calls to fixed and mobile numbers are
charged at the standard rate. And unsurprisingly, TeliaSonera, like BT, does
not mention that once the service sits on a device, it is mobile, allowing
for some interesting price and location arbitrage opportunities (such as
making calls at Swedish national rates from a hotel in Sydney). However,
there are also some interesting differences between this and the BT
Broadband Voice product:

* TeliaSonera is employing a softphone client, rather than an analogue
telephone adaptor, which makes it a PC-to-PC service.
* TeliaSonera has leveraged more of the capabilities of SIP, including
video telephony, instant messaging and presence functions in the service
offering. (Note from Richard: because it is using HotSIP)
* On-net calls are free, which is common practice among the
independent SIP service providers in the US, but a feature which BT has so
far opted not to offer.
* There is an upfront activation fee of SEK250 (EUR27) and a monthly
fee of SEK80 (EUR8.70). Given some of the prices and services already
available in Sweden (see our sector note) we are somewhat skeptical about
the attractiveness of the activation fee, though the monthly fee is 19%
below that offered by B2 for its telephony service.

Beyond the revenue opportunities that TeliaSonera may see in such a product
offering (we think marginal), we think the early attack on the SIP front
will provide a valuable learning experience for the company, and also may
have an element of pre-emptiveness about it. We understand from Jeff
Pulver's excellent Pulver Report that a Norwegian start-up is planning to
launch a Nordic regional SIP service this year.
(Note from Richard. Telio (=Alan Duric)

We are trying to find out
more on this development, and will follow up on it and the TeliaSonera
development in our upcoming global monthly.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Ofcom Website | Voice over Broadband

Invitation to the Voice over Broadband meeting on 25 Feb 04

The provision of Voice over Broadband (VoB) services represents a new form of market entry that is welcomed for its provision of additional competition in the UK's communications market. Such services have the potential to offer consumers access to alternative service providers, cheaper lines and calls, and new features.

However, whilst innovation and choice provides consumer benefits, it can also present a range of potential regulatory issues.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Boardwatch: Analysis of telecom software, services, and strategy:

Europeans Tug on Next-Gen B-RASs

European carriers are issuing loads of requests for proposals, quotes, and information for the latest edge equipment as they deal with the massive uptake of broadband connections, according to equipment vendors. ...

Boardwatch: Analysis of telecom software, services, and strategy:

"Euro VOIP World Braces for Romans

VOIP's a hot technology, and hot technologies attract money. That's why Andrew Romans has launched Georgetown Venture Partners with a view to brokering deals between Europe's VOIP hopefuls and the investment community (see GVP Targets VOIP Funds)."

Monday, February 02, 2004
Internet-Telefonie bedraengt Netzbetreiber
Und Festnetzmargen | Durchgehende IP-Netzwerke vereinfachen Einbindung von Telefonie | Guenstigere Tarife, einheitliche Verwaltung | TA will VoIP ohne Regulierung

TCS: Tech Central Station - Voice Over the Internet: Let It Fly

TCS: Tech Central Station - Voice Over the Internet: Let It Fly:

"A big reason the Internet has taken off is that government has kept out of the way. Hands-off is always the best policy for a new technology. It lets innovators innovate and investors avoid the extra risks of special taxes and rules.

Consider aviation. Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk flight -- which created entire industries, lifted the U.S. economy to new heights, changed the world.

But imagine if railroad regulators had burdened Wilbur and Orville and their successors with regulations requiring planes to have brake lights, whistles and a caboose and charging them a few cents for every mile of 'track' traveled in the air. Aviation would have been set back decades."

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Study: U.S. getting hooked on high-speed Net | CNET

"The number of Americans connecting to the Internet over broadband is growing at a rapid rate, according to a new Nielsen/NetRatings report.

Nearly 49.5 million Americans, or 38 percent of all home Internet users in the United States, now use a broadband connection to go online, said the report, released on Thursday. That figure represents a 27 percent increase since May 2003. The survey found no increase in the total number of homes using narrowband, which remained static at 69.6 million."

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