Musings About VoIP This Week
I’ve spent a lot of this week fixing things like databases, mail servers, customer issues, and who knows what else. Meanwhile, a lot has happened this week in the world of VoIP. Let me peck out some quick thoughts:
Reports of Yahoo taking on Skype: Supposedly, Yahoo is going to have a PC to phone offering for 1 cent/min USD calls to the US and 2 cent/min USD calls to 20 countries (presumably not to cell phones). Some reports have suggested Yahoo may take a loss there to gain market share, but I’m sure between all the credits they have with carriers and their volume purchasing power, they will still make money. Of course, unless Yahoo offers a Linux version or allows you to use any SIP-compliant device, I probably won’t use it all that much. Skype still has a multiplatform advantage, though Gizmo Project also does multiplatform–arguably better than Skype. Since Gizmo supports open standards, it is possible for far more platforms to take advantage of Gizmo Project.
The whole E911 thing: My wife and I had an actual discussion about VoIP today, which centered around an article in the January 2006 Consumer Reports about telephone line replacement services like Vonage. Her biggest concern with VoIP: the whole 911 problem. She wants 911 to just work and is very concerned that most of the VoIP carriers haven’t gotten a good solution yet. I gave her the background on what the FCC is trying to get the VoIP carriers to do. I also explained to her the current regime at the the FCC isn’t permitting the VoIP carriers to be innovative and instead requiring them to implement E911 as the conventional telcos have. Furthermore, the FCC hasn’t, to my knowledge, required those very same phone companies to “open up” their 911 trunks so the VoIP carriers can use them. She thinks that should be a requirement if the FCC wants everyone to have E911, and I agree.
BellSouth and Packet 8 Deal: So there’s been chatter about BellSouth using Packet 8 for their upcoming VoIP offering. Why not private-label from someone with an established network instead of building your own, even if you are an ILEC and could do it yourself? Heck, because you’re a telco, you can even charge more for the privilege ($30 versus $20 from Packet 8 directly). That extra $10 a month buys endorsement from BellSouth.u customer service from BellSouth as well as the ability to add it to your existing BellSouth bill. If they bundle it with other services, they’ll get it cheaper. I wonder if BellSouth customers can purchase naked DSL and get VoIP dialtone instead of POTS dialtone.
There’s more, but I’ll save it for later since it’s late now…