Wednesday, October 27, 2004

International Herald Tribune on VoIP

The IHT had an interesting acticle today on In Internet phone calls, broadband's 'killer application'

By Chris Oakes International Herald Tribune

PARIS If you happen to live in France, or have visited the country recently, a current promotion may well have caught your attention. Free, one of the country's biggest Internet service providers, has been offering consumers extra fast Internet access, along with a cable-like package of TV channels.
.
But Free, a subsidiary of France's Iliad Group, has thrown in one especially striking addition: unlimited free telephone calls throughout France. To start un-metered domestic dialing, the customer plugs a standard telephone into the "Freebox" that comes with the service.
.
The flat-rate price for the entire "triple play" package - delivered via the service's single DSL, or digital subscriber line, connection - is €29.99, or about $38, per month.
.
"It's actually the killer app, voice," said Jean Pierre Oliva, managing director of Jipo, a telecommunications consultancy based in Brussels, referring to the voice option's potential to fuel the spread of broadband Internet.

....

"I think the whole landscape will look completely different when we have completely IP infrastructure," said Julian Hewett, an analyst at the London-based consultancy Ovum. "Any service you'll buy will come with voice as standard part of it."
.
A smattering of providers follow the popular model popularized by the U.S. company Vonage - including Gossiptel in Britain, and Sipgate in Britain and Germany. Rather than providing Internet access themselves, these companies piggyback their voice services through customers' existing Internet connection. A VoIP adapter box, plugged into a broadband cable or DSL modem, hooks up to a standard telephone for voice calls.

...

The most popular of these services is Skype, which recently said it had recorded 1 million simultaneous users worldwide.
.
The 28 million downloads of its software - over 14 months of existence - represent more than 12.9 million users from all countries, Skype says. Similar to the pricing of services like Sipgate, calls between Skype users are free, while rates to make calls to regular phone numbers in countries around the world are typically offered at a significant discount to standard fixed-line rates, similar to the Sipgate pricing structure.
.
Nor are Skype users bound to their PCs: Skype makes a version of it software that runs on handheld devices that run Microsoft's Pocket PC program.
.
In this configuration, a PDA capable of making a wireless connection to the Internet via wi-fi makes for a more portable version of Skype for users on the go. And the German telecom equipment maker Siemens recently introduced a device that beams Skype calls to a cordless household telephone.
.
At a wholly different level of service, a handful of companies around Europe are circumventing traditional telephone networks altogether, and delivering voice and other services through their own high-bandwidth, fiber-optic connections in limited metropolitan areas.
.
For example, FastWeb, a subsidiary of e.Biscom of Italy, offers Internet, voice calls and video over one line for about €80 a month. The company's high-speed fiber provides enough bandwidth for the future addition of video-on-demand and similar high-bandwidth media delivery.
.
Pitching services to businesses may be the most profitable area for specialty VoIP service providers. Consulting and networking companies such as Cable & Wireless in Britain provide Internet Protocol voice service for workplace communications. VoIP is just one of a suite of services used for providing a digital conduit for all of a company's communications - from "virtual private networks," or VPNs to teleconferencing.

...

Analysts say France is in the lead in part to aggressive moves by the country's telecom regulator, ART, which designed rules that led the incumbent France Telecom to rapidly "unbundle" its network for use by third-party competitors.
.
In five years, Juniper Research predicts VoIP services will account for €26.5 billion, or 12 percent of global telephony revenues.
.
In the meantime, even those whom VoIP is supposed to challenge are making nice with the technology, at least for now - saying it's an essential ingredient they have no choice but to embrace.
.
"We have the vision - connect your world completely," said Andrew Burke director value added services for BT. "You can't take that vision forward without VoIP."
.

Comments:
Here's a picture of Free.fr's first-generation Freebox which i believe my Mom's had for about a couple of years now. The newer ones are less than half this one's size, yet tout the same features. My Dad's got the smaller one.
 
This blog is awesome! If you get a chance you may want to visit this maintenance software site, it's pretty awesome too!
 
Post a Comment

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