The PhoneBoy Blog


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Various Thoughts On VoIP-related Things

A lot happened last week in the world of VoIP and I obviously haven’t blogged about any of it yet. Oh well, better late than never I guess.

The BroadVoice service debacle: Okay, this goes back a couple of weeks, but things have calmed down a bit on this, at least I think so. Aside from the article on Voxilla and the hub-bub in the Voxilla Forums, all I have to say about it is that these kinds of things are bound to happen to any telephony service provider, VoIP or otherwise. I certainly had my share of BroadVoice downtime as a result of all this, though I have a few other options at my disposal (lucky me). I know there were plenty of others that weren’t so lucky and plenty of customers left BroadVoice or at least looked at having backup phone service in the meantime. I can see why my wife doesn’t want to bet the farm on VoIP as of yet.

The whole e911 thing: You’ve all probably heard that the FCC in the USA has decided that VoIP telephony providers must provide access to 911 services within the next 120 days. Yes, they require the ILECs to provide VoIP providers access to 911, but as Ravi so eloquently points out, they don’t specify “at what cost” they must do so. I can certainly see the ILECs using this as a weapon to beat back competition. I also agree with the various opinions out there that this might cause some consolidation among VoIP providers. Of course, I think the whole FCC order is probably going to help burst the VoIP bubble. Meanwhile, I like the idea I had proposed long ago, which was that the FCC (or someone similar) defing minimum requirements for 911-service and not allowing providers to state they have 911 service unless they meet these minimum requirements. People should be allowed to make an informed decision about whether or not they want 911 service on their VoIP line. We’ve made that choice in our house, and that’s one reason we still have PSTN lines at home.

Skype: The more I hear, the more I’m not enamored. Two of the podcasts I listen to have hosts (or regulars) that attend via Skype. The sound quality of these participants is less than stellar. The TWiTs said on their 15 May 2005 podcast that they were purchasing better audio equipment for the purpose of producing a higher-quality show. Oh sure, they’re going to use Skype (or something similar) for the “virtual show,” but Leo Laporte says he’s going to have each participant submit a copy of locally recorded audio. This “clean” audio is supposed to increase the overall sound quality of the podcast. Of course, maybe it’s not Skype, but the underlying Internet connection. Whatever. I’m just not into a solution that locks me into a particular client or a subscription.

VoIP Podcasts: Other than the VON Radion Podcasts that Jeff Pulver and team put out, there doesn’t seem to be a regular VoIP-related podcast out there. VoIP gets some mention on Ken Radio if only because Andy is a co-host.


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