Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Catching up on the blogs after my vacation

Staying away from the Internet during vacation is nice, but the problem comes afterwards, becuse other people keep on going. First one has to catch up with the e-mails. This is still not completely done after one week. The next thing is to cross-read my channel group on VoIP in FeedDemon. Bold news all over the place.

Then you read the following item on isen.blog:

Kudos for Telepocalypse

"Koranteng gushes:

[Telepocalypse author Martin Geddes'] writing is so lucid and the analysis so trenchant that I encourage everyone I know to simply 'follow him around', read everything he writes and revise their business plans, investments etc accordingly. Read all his opinion pieces and come back buzzing with insight at the opportunities and pitfalls in this wonderfull networked world we live in.

I couldn't have said it better myself."

To which I can only agree.

The real problem is that first I found a new blog, second I had to read the full article, which gives another bunch of references, throwing me back in my catching up a full week. Reset.

Not to mention my new laptop. Bringing this piece into full operation and installing all my programms takes another week. Sigh.

What should the Telecom Act of 2006 look like?

The first proposal on this is saw at the 2004 Spring VON in the Telecom Policy Forum presented from Kathryn C. Brown (Verizon)

Kathryn stated in her presentation:

Title I (similar to ECS) is the appropriate regulatory classification for all broadband services to encourage maximum investment and innovation.

However, all participants in the broadband value chain should embrace a set of connectivity principles which ensure that consumers:
-Can gain access to any content on the internet
-Can run the applications they choose
-Have adequate information regarding their service capabilities
-Can attach any devices to their broadband connection that do not harm the network

FCC (the regulators) will retain authority under Title I (ECS). If needed, they can step in and take action these principles are being violated and the public interest is harmed.

Tim Wu now posted 6 similar principles on Lawrence Lessig's Blog

Six Principles

1. Codification of the right to use the the applications and network attachments of one's choice (otherwise known as Network Neutrality or Network Freedom).

2. Total and final destruction of the vertical regulatory classifications (Title II for common carriers, Title III for wireless, Title IV for cable), replacement with a simple horizontal model.

3. Full and clear preemption of most state and local regulation -- ideally, with limited exceptions.

4. Directed spectrum reform -- of virtually any kind.

5. Any VoIP rules that don't kill VoIP.

6. Abandonment of '96 Act "Unbundled Network Element" approach to telephony competition -- the litigation costs just aren't worth it.

I've left out alot here, but these are what I see as steps forward. Many other issues are battles over the division of existing rents -- particularly the battles over voice

He also points to some papers floating around- see there.

David S. Isenberg comments on this on his isen.blog in the following way:

"I think this is a constructive first step, and a good conversation starter. So let the conversation begin!

My main beef is that the Six Principles are sadly missing a prolog. What and who should the network be for? It needs a "we hold these truths to be evident" clause. I would propose that it should say something like:
Because communication is inherently valuable and essential to all human beings, the Internet should be designed, coded, and regulated to optimize its connectivity and usefulness to all humans everywhere. Governments should make no law, and coders should write no code that negates, countervenes or diminishes this central value.

Such a prolog informs the reader of the Six Principles e.g., *who* has the right laid out in Principle #1.

A couple other points:
Re #4: Spectrum reform of any kind? Really???
Re #5: One person might think that Regulation X would kill VOIP, while another might think that the very same regulation would make VOIP safe, or make it more acceptable, or something.
Re #6: Abandoning the UNE strategy is one way to go, but putting real teeth in it, e.g., the government will step in if you don't (the way Japan successfully unbundled) is another way to go.

To sum up my first impressions: Tim Wu's attempt is valiant and important, but naive and incomplete. (My first reactions to it, above, are equally naive and incomplete.) We needs a lot more work to create a viable guide to the next telecom act!"

Definetely ;-)

In Europe, a similar discussion is going on with the consultation on VoIP by the European Commission: Public consultation on the regulatory treatment of VoIP under the EU regulatory framework.

Since the comments should be sent in today latest, the will hopefully soon show up on the EU webpage

Gartner predicts VoIP revolution despite cost barriers to adoption

Gartner predicts VoIP revolution despite cost barriers to adoption

by Cliff Saran
Tuesday 31 August 2004

The cost of IP telephony is the number one factor holding back wider adoption of the technology, a Gartner survey has found.

Gartner has predicted that the convergence of voice and data network infrastructures is set to take off. But cost and political in-fighting between telecoms and network managers is holding back wider adoption, a survey of 200 businesses across in North America, UK, France and Germany has revealed.

'A primary inhibitor is that voice staff do not talk to network managers,' said Steve Blood, research vice-president at Gartner.

But this is set to change. Blood predicted that by 2008, 90% of all new corporate telephone systems will be IP-enabled. And as companies begin switching from existing Frame Relay networks to 2mbps MPLS networks, they now have sufficient bandwidth for IP telephony, Blood said.

More ...

AOL testet VoIP-Service
Einstieg in Internet-Telefonie 2005 möglich

pressetext.at - Nachrichtenagentur und Presseverteiler

Dulles (pte, 31. Aug 2004 09:23) - Der größte US-Internetprovider AOL http://www.aol.com testet seit Sommerbeginn einen VoIP-Service für seine Kunden. Wie das Branchenportal Cnet berichtet, strebt AOL bereits im Jahr 2005 den Einstieg in das VoIP-Geschäft mit einem eigenen Service an. Das würde die Konkurrenz für bisherige US-Anbieter deutlich verschärfen.

Gemeinsam mit dem Partner Level 3 Communications http://www.level3.com testet AOL zurzeit mit ausgewählten Kunden einen eigenen VoIP-Service. Angesichts der knapp 23 Mio. AOL-Kunden, mehr als vier Mio. davon mit Breitband-Anschluss, könnte das nicht nur einen breiten Durchbruch der Internet-Telefonie bedeuten, sondern vor allem das Kerngeschäft bisheriger Anbieter wie Verizon oder Qwest gefährden.

Auch die AOL-Konzernschwester Time Warner Cable will bis Jahresende einen landesweiten VoIP-Service starten. AT&T hat kürzlich angekündigt, sich weniger auf traditionelle Telefonkunden zu konzentrieren und stattdessen mehr in den VoIP-Service CallVantage zu investieren. In den USA werden laut einer Studie der Yankee Group bis Jahresende rund eine Mio. Menschen VoIP-Kunden sein, berichtet das Wall Street Journal. Bis 2008 sollen demnach 17,5 Mio. US-Haushalte via VoIP telefonieren.

AOL testing Net phone service

AOL testing Net phone service | CNET News.com

Published: August 30, 2004, 11:13 AM PDT
By Jim Hu and Ben Charny
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Joining an already crowded market, America Online on Monday confirmed it is testing its own Internet phone service.

The service, which AOL has been testing since early summer, will let customers place phone calls over the Internet, according to AOL spokeswoman Anne Bentley. The trials are preliminary and limited to a select number of testers.
AOL declined to say when the offering will be officially launched. However, people testing the service said on Broadbandreports.com that AOL is looking to launch it in 2005.

The company intends to offer a homemade VoIP service, using partner Level 3 Communications as a conduit to the local telephone system, according to a source in the VoIP industry.

AOL's entry into Internet telephony underscores a rush among many giants in the technology and telecommunications industries to offer the service. That's because VoIP is less expensive for providers to operate, resulting in a lower monthly bill for consumers and businesses.

AT&T recently said it would stop adding new copper wire phone customers and instead will pour resources into its own VoIP product, called CallVantage. Ma Bell is trying to sell the service as an added application for broadband customers.

Cable companies also are toying with their own services. AOL corporate cousin Time Warner Cable, for example, has begun selling a VoIP service and plans to launch it nationwide by the end of the year.

While Baby Bell phone operators such as Verizon Communications and Qwest Communications International have launched their own VoIP service, most of the players getting into the game are trying to beat out the Bells.

Providers such as AT&T, start-up VoIP service Vonage and Net2Phone are making traction in signing up new customers. The entry of AOL into the arena is expected to be significant but not earth-shattering.

"We're ready for the competition," a Verizon representative said.

AOL's product will likely compete with CallVantage, Vonage and other VoIP services that rely on subscribers to bring their own broadband connection, said Sarah Hofstetter, an executive vice president at Net2Phone. But unlike other so-called "unmanaged services", she said, AOL can bundle VoIP into its popular online service, aimed at broadband users.

Representatives from Vonage and AT&T did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Highly recommended reading on Numbering

Richard Hill pointed recently to a very interesting paper on Numbering:


The Title is "Numbering Trends: A Gobal Overview" by Claire Milne for
the Regional Center for Southern Africa.

The document analyses many of the current issues on numbering, what the issues and pit-falls are in setting-up or modifying a numbering plan and in doing so, it explains very well the terminology and also the background of existing numbering structures in different countries.

Although VoIP and ENUM issues are excluded, it may serve as excellent introductory reading in numbering, especially for net-heads currently trying to set up their own numbering plans on the Internet ;-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

ENUM goes commercial in Austria

RTR (the Austrian Regulator) and enum.at announced today officially in a common press confernce the planned launch of a commercial ENUM service in Austria.

The corresponding press releases can be found (in German) at enum.at Presseinformation (PDF) and RTR Presseinformation (PDF)

During the press conference two presentations where given:
Präsentation ENUM_was ist das.pdf (2986,77 kB)
Präsentation ENUM 24082004.pdf (553,99 kB)

The major reason for the press conference was the presentation of the contract between RTR and enum.at regarding the operation of the ENUM Tier 1 Registry. The contract is also available at the RTR-webpage:
ENUM_Vertrag.pdf (206,3 kB)

Sorry, the contract is currently only available in German, and English version is under translation.

The contract is about the ENUM Tier 1 Registry operation, but also gives obligations for the contracts between the ENUM Tier 1 Registry and the Registrars.

It also defines the number ranges that will be available in ENUM and the validation and identification required for the different number ranges.

The number ranges in ENUM will be:

-geographic numbers
-private networks (05)
-mobile numbers (06xx)
-non-geographic fixed numbers (0720)
-ENUM-enabled numbers (0780)
-freephone numbers (0800)

The validation and identification methods differ for the different number ranges, potential examples are given in the annex B of the contract.

The contract also defines the data stored at the ENUM Tier 1 registry for each delegated number ("WHOIS capability"). In short: For control and escrow purposes the subscriber identity (name and address) is stored at the ENUM Tier 1 Registry (for numbers requiring identification), but not available for the general public. Publicly available is only the fact that the number is delegated and the registrar.

This allows also for ENUM delegations without identification, given proper validation (e.g. for mobile prepaid numbers with SMS validation).

Monday, August 23, 2004

Pony Express

Hi Guys,

after a short stop over of two weeks in Ottawa, Ont., to recover from the last IETF in San Diego and to recollect my family spread out all over the world, and staying (mostly) off the Internet on purpose, I am finally back to work. VoIP was still a topic, since I found out that there where already articles about VoIP in non-tech papers such as the Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Citizen.

That VoIP seems unstoppable now can also be seen in the Monday Matchup from Forbes.com "VoIP Vs. Conventional Telephones"

It starts with:

"NEW YORK - Traditional phone systems may be going the way of the Pony Express. Voice-over-Internet Protocol, technology that allows users to make and receive phone calls using the Internet, is giving the old circuit-switched system a run for its money."

and ends with:

"It remains to be seen which companies will come out on top, but it's increasingly clear that in the battle of VoIP versus circuit switching, the conventional system is on the ropes. It's no longer a question of whether VoIP will supplant conventional phone systems, but when."

For the full article see:
Forbes.com VoIP Vs. Conventional Telephones

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Jeff's Reflection on CALEA Ruling @ FCC

The Jeff Pulver Blog: Reflection on CALEA Ruling @ FCC

The FCC has adopted the CALEA Declaratory Ruling and NPRM today at their August, 2004 meeting. I understand that the NPRM is intended to help create an environment in which VoIP can grow in a regulation-free environment, while still addressing lawful intercept concerns. I believe that the Declaratory Ruling clarifies that commercial wireless 'push-to-talk' services are subject to CALEA, regardless of the technologies that Commercial Mobile Radio Service providers choose to apply in offering them. The wireless carriers employing push-to-talk have apparently already anticipated and accounted for this.

The more relevant issue for VoIP providers is the NPRM, which will include a tentative conclusion that, for purposes of CALEA ONLY, managed VOIP could meet the "substantial replacement" test and could be subject to CALEA obligations. I understand that the tentative conclusions are limited to the CALEA provisions. Importantly, the item does not propose to classify VoIP as a telecommunications services, and, therefore, should not take us down a slippery slope in which VoIP would be categorized as a telecom service and subject to the host of telecom regulations. Furthermore, the tentative conclusion that CALEA applies to managed VoIP services that are a "substantial replacement" to POTS, will not apply to non-managed services like Free World Dialup. In his Separate Statement, Chairman Powell specifically states, 'The item also tentatively concludes that non-managed, or disintermediated, VoIP and Instant Messaging are not subject to CALEA, and that it is unnecessary to identify future services and entities subject to CALEA.'

I understand that the NPRM will reinforce the FCC's commitment to holding a "Solution Summit" on law enforcement access to Internet voice communications. The Solution Summit will be an effort to develop forward-thinking solutions that meet law enforcement's legitimate needs without stifling the innovative potential of Internet communications.

The NPRM will apparently request comment on the feasibility of carriers relying on a trusted third party to manage their CALEA compliance obligations and whether standards for packet technologies are deficient and preclude carriers relying on them as safe harbors for complying with CALEA's capability requirements.

I believe that the NPRM is designed to address law enforcement issues but is also part of a broader effort to ensure that VoIP remains free of unnecessary requirements.

Having said all of this, the IP Communications industry still has to remain vigilant to ensure that the FCC does not impose unnecessary, onerous CALEA or other telecom obligations on IP-based communications applications. It will also be important for us to ensure that the national security issue does not sidetrack efforts to achieve a rational, deregulatory VoIP policy.

We are living in interesting regulatory times.

Some selected news stories covering this:

The Boston Globe: Wiretap law to apply to Net calls
Australian Financial Review: US wants to wiretap internet calls
CNET: Feds back wiretap rules for Internet

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

OSP going Open Source in Asterisk

For more information on OSP (Open Settlement Protocol) see ETSI TS 101 321 V4.1.1 (2003-11)
Title: Telecommunications and Internet Protocol Harmonization Over Networks (TIPHON) Release 4; Open Settlement Protocol (OSP) for Inter-Domain pricing, authorization and usage exchange

It may be downloaded for free from:


TransNexus and Digium Partner to Add Multi-Lateral Peering Support to Asterisk(TM) Open Source PBX: "TransNexus and Digium Partner to Add Multi-Lateral Peering Support to Asterisk(TM) Open Source PBX

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 08/02/2004

TransNexus and Digium have partnered to add the Open Settlement Protocol (OSP) to the Asterisk Open Source PBX. The new feature expands the already broad functionality of Asterisk. With the addition of OSP, Asterisk users now have the option of subscribing to global VoIP carrier services that use OSP for multi-lateral peering.

'Asterisk is a revolutionary open source platform which brings the reliability of Linux to create a truly unique solution for IPPBX, Legacy PBX, IVR, VoIP Gateway, conferencing and many other telephony features. With over 20,000 world wide installations we have become the Standard in Open Source Telephony. Our work with TransNexus demonstrates the value of two open source projects working together to benefit the community as a whole,' said Mark Spencer the founder of Digium and Asterisk.

OSP, a global standard for multi-lateral VoIP peering, has been widely deployed since 2000 and is broadly supported by major vendors such as Cisco, Alcatel, Radvision, UTStarcom, Veraz and others.

This collaborative effort is an important new development for VoIP carriers who want to increase the gross margin of their wholesale networks. Open source VoIP solutions are a growing trend with enterprise customers and tier three carriers. Asterisk is the market leader for open source PBX applications. The addition of OSP to Asterisk enables VoIP carriers to securely extend their wholesale services to this rapidly growing VoIP market segment. For Asterisk users, OSP is anothe"

Interesting discussion between Malik and Schwartz blogs

Om Malik on Broadband: But Seriously, IBM, not Sun, has a problem

answers to Jonathan Schwartz's IBM in a pickle:

In a classic case of pot calling the kettle black, Sun's software guru Jonathan Schwartz thinks that IBM has some serious problems because of Red Hat.

"But the bad news for IBM is that the vast majority of enterprise datacenter deployments are now occurring on Red Hat's linux. 100 to 1, depending up on where you look. And with Red Hat increasing price, while adding in an application server that competes with WebSphere, IBM's finding itself in the uncomfortable position of having lost control of the social movement they were hoping to monetize. IBM is in a real pickle. Red Hat's dominance leaves IBM almost entirely dependent upon SuSe/Novell. Whoever owns Novell controls the OS on which IBM's future depends. Now that's an interesting thought, isn't it?"

Jonathan, those who live in glass houses, well you know the rest. And in case you did not know, IBM has made some substantial investments in Novell and also owns a tiny piece of Red Hat. Little advice: blogging good, bashing rivals not good. And also stop drinking from the same fountain as Scott. Apparently Wall Street Journal bought into Jonny's FUD.

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