Saturday, July 31, 2004

FCC Roundtable on IP regulations (cont)

InfoWorld: VOIP providers: Regulation hampers growth: July 30, 2004: By : NETWORKING : TELECOM

Technology vendors speak at an FCC forum on global IP regulation
By Grant Gross, IDG News Service

WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators can play an important role in the spread of voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services by showing the rest of the world that the best way to encourage growth is by limiting regulation, said vendors of VOIP service and equipment Friday.

A consistent "light touch" approach on regulation throughout the U.S., European Union (EU) and other countries will also help VOIP grow, said vendors of VOIP-related products, speaking at a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forum on global IP regulation in Washington, D.C.


Some rural-state lawmakers want VOIP to contribute to the Universal Service Fund, which helps fund telecom services in rural and poor areas, and law enforcement officials want wiretap regulations to apply to VOIP calls as well as traditional telephone calls. Some traditional telephone carriers say VOIP should face the same set of regulations as they do.

But panelists Friday argued that old telecom regulations don't make sense for IP services, where state or national borders are erased. VOIP has the potential to break down not only national boundaries but boundaries between devices such as PCs, personal digital assistants and telephones, and traditional ways of regulating those devices no longer apply, said Al Safarikas, vice president of wireline networks for Nortel Networks Corp.

"The world's innovators are right now working on devices that we probably can't think of in this room in 100 years," he said. "IP will enable that, and all those boundaries will come down. (Regulatory) limits and boundaries are broken by technology."

What VOIP providers are looking for is consistent regulations throughout the world with certainty over what regulations they will face, added Kristen Neller Verderame, vice president for U.S. regulation and government relations at British Telecom Americas Inc. She advocated that nations "regulate where it's necessary, and only when it's necessary."

But U.S. debates over regulations such as access costs -- what prices competitors have to pay to gain access to U.S. broadband providers' networks -- are a major concern to British Telecom, she said. She called on the FCC to give VOIP "reasonable access costs," even as the FCC in the past year has moved away from regulations that require the incumbent owners of the U.S. telecommunications networks to share much of their networks with competitors. Since February, the FCC has been working on a policy for VOIP regulation.

"Regulatory uncertainty is a huge barrier," Neller Verderame said. "Look at the market, see where it's competitive, and see where it's not. Where it is needed, do the regulation. We're a bit worried about the U.S. at the moment, to be frank."

FCC Roundtable on IP regulations

Pulver Slams Senate VoIP Vote
July 30, 2004 - By Roy Mark

WASHINGTON -- Internet telephony pioneer Jeff Pulver pulled no punches today in criticizing last week's vote by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee vote to allow states to continue regulating Voice over IP (define) services.

Pulver, participating in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) roundtable on IP regulations, called the vote a "bizarre, last-minute procedural maneuver" and vowed to lead the fight against it if the bill reaches the Senate floor for a full vote.


"This [bill] runs absolutely counter to the logic of the Pulver [FCC] order and only to serve the cyber roadside police agents," Pulver said.

If the notion to allow states to regulate VoIP prevails, Pulver said, "I think we should find a Caribbean island country" to move VoIP operations. "It would be a tremendous investment ... if this doesn't happen right in the U.S."

Although the bill has received widespread publicity, a Hill staffer closely associated with the legislation told earlier this week, "The bill is dead on arrival. It isn't going anywhere."


It's when the VoIP calls hit the PSTN that cash-strapped state regulators want to call Internet telephony a normal voice service and charge access fees. VoIP providers say they shouldn't be regulated like telephone carriers since they don't traffic in voice packets, contending VoIP is just an another software application like e-mail.

"And it isn't entirely all about the money," the Hill staffer said. "If eventually all voice traffic moves to the Internet, what will these people [state regulators] have left to regulate? They don't want to lose their power."


A June Merrill Lynch research report says in the first quarter of this year, broadband penetration, a critical factor in the deployment of VoIP services, reached 23.8 percent in the United States, with the strongest penetration rates driven by cable operators with VoIP deployments.

"We call it everything over IP," Glen Campbell, author of the report, told the FCC roundtable discussion. "Over time, we're going to see a complete separation of applications from the [underlying] networks."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Skype Comes Out of Beta

VoIP Watch: Skype Comes Out Of Beta

With the signing of four carrier termination agreements last week, one with Level3, and others with Colt, Teleglobe and iBasis, Skype has released the first official version of it's Peer 2 Peer VoIP client.

But what's more interesting is the future offering from Skype, to be called Skype Plus that will actually link up a real telephone number to Skype, and their plans to work with cellular carriers and handset manufacturers.

But one weakness seems to be they won't be a PBX replacement, or at least not yet. This opens the door wider for Popular Telephony whose Peerio444 platform is clearly aimed at that market.

Ok, but with Skype a lot is going on the last two month, but Peerio seems to be dead.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Michael Powell (FCC Chair) Joins the Blogosphere

Michael Powell Joins the Blogosphere :: AO

Welcome to the club

And another article on the VoIP Hearing from Wired News

Wired News: Feds Weigh Role in Net Telephony

This article also contains links to the bills.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Yesterday's VoIP Hearing in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Askin, General Counsel, attended yesterday’s House Subcommittee Hearing on VoIP. His very extensive recap can be found at the Jeff Pulver Blog

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Update on Congress hearing

Congress mulls new Net phone rules | CNET

The Boucher-Stearns proposal, introduced late Tuesday afternoon at a press conference in Washington, is not exactly laissez-faire. It would potentially increase the amount that customers pay for certain VoIP services by importing a handful of controversial taxes and regulations from the analog world. (Neither the states nor the FCC, however, would be able to directly set prices or rates for VoIP service.)

Under the bill, Boucher said, the FCC would have the option to regulate three key areas for VoIP companies that link with traditional phone networks. The three areas are enhanced 911, universal service, and access charges. Universal service fees come from taxes levied on telecommunications providers that are redirected to cover discounted phone service for rural and low-income subscribers, as well as school and library Internet connections. Access fees are paid by subscribers and long-distance carriers for the use of local phone networks while making long-distance calls.


Adam Thierer, director of telecommunications policy at the Cato Institute said he favored the Boucher-Stearns approach of restricting state governments from regulating VoIP, but that he remained "concerned about all the carve-outs" giving the FCC authority to import 20th century access charges and universal service requirements.

"The problems is you've left a lot of room open for regulatory wiggling," Thierer said. "As long as the universal service door is open, regulators will drive a truck through it...If ever there was a chance to push the envelope and change the way we think about telecommunications regulation, it's now."

Rep. Charles Pickering, R-Miss., and Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H, also have introduced bills related to VoIP. The Boucher-Stearns bill is numbered HR4757.

Congressman Boucher takes on state regulation of VOIP

This CNET article describes a new bill to be introduced by Congressman Boucher of SW Virginia which would ban the state regulation of voice-over-Internet-protocol.

Can VoIP survive Congress? | Perspectives | CNET

On Wednesday, a House of Representatives panel will convene its first hearing devoted to considering how much of the thousands of pages of weighty telecommunications regulations should be imported to cover voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. The apt title of the hearing: "VoIP: Will the Technology Disrupt the Industry or Will Regulation Disrupt the Technology?"

Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., are planning a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce a second House bill on VoIP. Boucher told me that while the legislation won't be finalized until the event, it has two major components: One of them is to block states from regulating VoIP. The other is to encourage the Federal Communications Commission to consider what 911, universal service, and access charges requirements will apply.

Isenberg fostering IAX

in his article in Americas Network:

Americas Network - IAX edges in on SIP's early dominance

He comes to the following conclusion:

"My fingernails are way too clean to call winners. But I’m intrigued by lightweight protocols that require no network changes. And the buzz around IAX is getting too loud to ignore."

So what we need is an iax: URI to get this going in ENUM. Any volunteers for drafting a draft?

VoIP good news, bad news

The good news are: VoIP seems finally provide revenues
The bad news are: because of this, it will of course get taxed.


IRS eyes Net phone taxes | CNET

First VoIP Retail Store Grand Opening today

USA's First VoIP Retail Store Grand Opening Wednesday, July 7

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 6, 2004--Twister Networks Inc. (Pink Sheets:TWTN - News) today announced that with one of its key U.S. distributors, the company is opening what is believed to be the country's first retail store dedicated solely to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products and services.

The store's Grand Opening is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7, 2004 at 10 a.m. Located in the Orange County area of California, the store is located at 14366 Brookhurst St. in the town of Garden Grove under the retail name 'Nettel.'

The retail store will showcase Twister Networks VoIP Internet phone models i100, i300, and i400, as well as the upcoming i350, which is scheduled for release in the next 30-60 days.

Bruce Thomsen, Twister Networks' CEO, commented: 'This is believed to be the first retail store in the United States solely dedicated to VoIP products and services. We cordially invite all interested parties -- potential customers, media, investors, and local constituents -- to visit the store to learn more about Twister's VoIP products and services.'

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

China is going IPv9

What does that mean? 1024 byte addresses?

No, it's 10 digit addresses (in words TEN). No, this is NOT a joke!

James Seng stated in his blog:

I heard of them first time back in 2001. The technology is developed by 十进制网 called "数字域名" which translate roughly to 'Numerical Domain Name". They call it ADDA (All Digital Domain Address) and then later IPv9. (Okay, I laughed back then too so don't hold back yourself ;-)

Even the Germans, normally not world champions in humor, called it:

Bloated ENUM as papertiger

The reason is that they want to use 10-digit numbers everybody can access a web-page just entering the number. This may even be expanded world-wide just by placing the E.164 country code in front. This also solves the VoIP and ENUM problem. You just dial your IP-address.

Hey, I have an idea:

What's the difference between 10-digits and 12-digits? One just enters the IP address directly in the browser and there you go. No DNS query no more, no domain name fees,
no Verisign, no ccTLDs and finally: NO ICANN. Back to the roots.

And no ENUM. No discussions on validation, privacy and infrastructure ENUM. ITU-T assignes a CC to IP (say 999) and you just dial the IP address. Done.

Maybe I should go to an US patent office immediately before some clever Swiss guys do it ;-)

Oh my god.

see also: is the Technology Portal for the Latest Chinese Hi-Tech News, Information, and Commentary

View on Skype and mobile VoIP from down under

Austrialian IT is providing an interesting view on Skype

"Skype launched a Preferred Partner Program in March "to develop innovative consumer communication solutions".

Siemens Mobile and Plantronics were signed on for the launch: Siemens for its Gigaset M34 USB PC adaptor that promises wireless chatting from a PC, and Plantronics for its range of wired and Bluetooth headsets. "

on other mobile VoIP solitions.

read more

Australian IT - VoIP mobile phone service rings in (Vincent Blake, JULY 06, 2004)

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Business Model for Skype?

Currently a lot of people, especially in incumbent telcos, are wondering, musing or joking over the business model of Skype, but looking around, there is nothing very new here.

Skype is using basically two marketing strategies already around for a long time:

1. Customer lock-in and
2. Let the customer do it on his own (DIY)

Regarding 1. Customer lock-in by giving away things for a shoestring or for free, Skype is quite conservative and in good company. Mobile operators do this for years by giving away mobile phones, free minutes and reduced subscriptions. Hutchinson now took this a step further in Austria by giving new customers in addition 50 Euro in cash.

Some may say now that people in telecommunication are know to be crazy, but similar things are going on in other sectors too: e.g. another example in Austria: the tourism association in Badgastein and a shop for sporting goods (Hervis) gave away a pair of free skis for anybody booking 3 nights and a two-day ski-pass in the region. One idea of this is that customers may not throw away the skis and maybe use it next year also.

Michael O'Leary, boss of Ryan-Air, believes that in some years tourists may get paid to board an air-plane, especially to destinations with lower frequency.

Compared with these "bargains" Skype and Niklas is really conservative, because what is really given away by him? To give away a mobile phone, you have development costs, production, transport, distribution and retail costs, because finally atoms have to be moved here. Skype has some development costs and nothing else, because they only move bits.

Regarding 2. DIY Skype is only betting on the trend for DIY in the last 100 years, and this is not a risky bet. Somebody said 100 years ago that not more than 10.000 cars will be manufactured because of lack of chauffeurs. Nobody could imagine before IKEA that many people will self-assemble their funiture and currently markets for hobby-workers are making a fortune. Some even construct their own houses.

People make their own pictures and movies, and with PC and the Internet the customers where on their own from the beginning. Nobody hires a company to get his PC or SW installed, eventually a good friend is used. People even start DIY networking with wireless LAN. BTW, this is similar how CATV started: the original abbreviation stood for Community antenna TV and was DIY by small private communities out of the reach of TV broadcast.

The last remaining item which is provided by somebody else is telecommunication and especially telephone "services".

With VoIP people finally can do this by themselves also and they will do it. VoIP is not a service, it is a product, like fax.

So the Skype business model is quite simple: get customers in by providing an easy to use tool, let the customer do everything by himself (buy a device, get BB access, download, install, find your communications partners), and if you have enough customers, start selling them something in addition. Guess how many people have pre-paid $10 just to try SkypeOut. Guess how many people will pay an additional $10 to get a number.

$10 is not very much, but from the point of Skype: "many a mickle makes a muckle"
(Kleinvieh macht auch Mist).

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Quad band GSM and WLAN in a single-chip

Backed by leading venture capitalists Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, new start-up Quorum Systems has entered the fabless semiconductor market by announcing the availability of what it says is the world's first single-chip integrated circuit (IC) for multi-mode wireless communication. The Quorum Connection (QC) 2530 is an integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver that is able to support both wireless local area network (WLAN) and Quad Band GSM cellular applications simultaneously. The company validated the QC 2530 recently by successfully completing the first call-to-network using the technology.

read more ...

Consumers Not Listening to VoIP Yet

By Robyn Greenspan | July 2, 2004

While Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) may be making headlines in the tech industry, the majority of U.S. and Canadian Internet users are still largely unaware of this method of communication.

A collaborative research study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the New Millennium Research Project (NMRC), along with separate data from Ipsos-Insight revealed that service providers will have to make great strides to inspire widespread adoption, as growth may be small and only within certain populations.

Low-cost landline long distance calling plans and unlimited wireless minutes seemingly eliminate the need for VoIP, but John B. Horrigan, Ph.D. and senior research specialist for Pew Internet & American Life Project, says that consumers who need to make international calls would find VoIP attractive.

read more ...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Lots of comments on Skype and SkypeOut recently

Kevin Werbach:
TCS: Tech Central Station - Tune In, Turn On, Skype Out

e.g on FCCs role:
The FCC, in essence, set up two goalposts. On one end, full regulation, and on the other, complete freedom. Unfortunately, the playing field in the middle has no yard markers. The FCC's distinctions are of little value when a Hail Mary like SkypeOut can take the form of a transparent software update. Skype is also partnering with handset vendors to embed its software, freeing the service from dependence on a PC. In other words, it no longer fits neatly into the FCC's framework.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell recognizes the challenge Skype and similar services represent. Speaking to a conference at UC San Diego in January, he acknowledged that the regulatory approach the FCC had followed for seventy years was dead. Finished. Kaput. Or, in his words, "I knew it was over when I downloaded Skype. When the inventors of Kazaa are distributing for free a little program that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality is fantastic, and it's free - it's over. The world will change now inevitably." Powell wasn't just talking about the free, PC-based Skype. He clearly understood that it was a matter of time before Skype bridged the gap to the more than one billion existing phone users. And he understood that it was as much an opportunity as a threat to the FCC's underlying public policy goals.

In such an environment, the FCC should devote itself to facilitating the transition from circuit to packet networks for voice. If it tries to fight Skype, it will face the same war of attrition that has bedeviled the music industry. That would benefit no one, least of all the American people.

As voice telephony becomes a software application, its evolution will accelerate. The bridge from curiosity to mainstream may be short. Regulators should pave the way, or they will find themselves left behind.

But other has also something to say:

David Isenberg is not very happy
what Rohan Mahy had to say about Skype and SIP.

Niklas himself of course has also something to say (although not in person, only remote ;-)

And some are even spreading FUD about Skype.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?