Vonage service suffers outage

Bill Nash billn at billn.net
Thu Mar 10 19:57:10 UTC 2005

On Thu, 10 Mar 2005, Christian Kuhtz wrote:

>> I think the final nail in this coffin is the Vonage
>> banner ad/masthead which describes them as "the
>> broadband phone company."
> But it's broadband!  Shsssssh.  It's an information service. It's IP.  These
> are not the packets you're looking for.
> ;)
> What all this really shows is just how outdated the regulatory framework
> really is.  Once VoIP (or whatever the application formerly known as VoIP)
> stops looking like a PSTN emulation, this will get only more absurd than it
> already is.

I disagree that the regulatory framework is outdated, but instead offer 
that the classification of IP networks has changed as new services have 
arisen, and been embraced by, the consumer.

I don't purchase POTS service for my home. I have cable internet, and 
that's it. I don't even purchase cable TV service. Just a data feed. A la 
carte, I purchase VOIP service from whoever I want. It stops being a mere 
broadband information service the instant it connects to global PSTN.

If a VOIP provider wants to avoid the label of telephony carrier, they 
should be strictly end-to-end service with no connection into the global 
PSTN infrastructure. An example of this would be enterprise internal phone 
systems, designed to propagate calls within a single corporate entity. 
They could then purchase PSTN connectivity, or VOIP access to such, from a 
company who IS labelled as a telephony carrier, if they want to accept and 
send calls to the outside world.

This could something as small as a legal office running VOIP internally 
for phone system/contact management, call centers deploying pure IP 
networks for all internal services, or any other *end user*.

If you're transiting VOIP traffic, intentionally because that's your 
product, or incidentally because you're an IP transit carrier and you've 
agreed to pass that traffic, you are, by definition if not by intent, a 
telephony carrier. This includes Vonage, as a VOIP<->PSTN gateway, and 
*each of the ISPs they connect to*, having agreed to sell them service. 
Propagate through peering agreements, et voila: The Internet is part of 
the global PSTN network.

If there's anything that's going to kill VOIP as a viable consumer 
platform, it will be ISP/NSP unwillingness to fall under the telecomms 
regulatory structure. For companies with existing networks and peering 
agreements, it may very well be too late to change. VOIP has grown fast 
enough that customers will begin shifting in droves if ISPs start 
announcing they won't transit or support VOIP. The impact on revenue is 
significant enough, in my opinion, that CEOs, or shareholders, for that 
matter, won't be willing to give it up.

- billn

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