Telecom

Telecom / Most Commented

Skype: When Good Press Releases Go Bad

Burton Group issued a press release last week announcing the conclusions of my recent report on Skype. I thought the release clearly stated our conclusions on Skype, which essentially were that there are indeed security and management concerns that enterprises ought to be aware of, but that those risks may be outweighed by the business benefits offered by the use of the application, and that enterprises must carefully weigh risk vs. reward when evaluating Skype usage. more

Give Us TVoIP, Not IPTV

A buzzword in the cable/ilec world is IPTV, a plan to deliver TV over IP. Microsoft and several other companies have built IPTV offerings, to give phone and cable companies what they like to call a "triple play" (voice, video and data) and be the one-stop communications company. ...I'm at the pulver.com Von conference where people are pushing this, notably the BellSouth exec who just spoke. But they've got it wrong. We don't need IPTV. We want TVoIP or perhaps more accurately Vid-o-IP. more

Communications Policy for 2006 and Beyond: VoIP as a Case in Point

In this article, published in the Federal Communications Law Journal (FCLJ), the authors (Reed E. Hundt and Gregory L. Rosston) have proposed sweeping changes to the current telecommunications regulatory regime. With impending reform in telecommunications laws, the authors argue that an important first step is the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to examine and recommend implementation of more market-oriented communications policy. The following excerpt from the article looks into service competition with respect to VoIP... more

Is the U.S. Dancing to a Different Drummer?

Is the United States in full retreat from internationally recognized regulatory best practice? Or is it instead headed toward some different destination -- "dancing to the beat of a different drummer"? Where is this likely to lead? The following is an introduction to a paper, published by IDATE, from J. Scott Marcus, a Senior Consultant for WIK-Consult GmbH: "...What has radically changed is telecoms regulatory practice in the United States. The U.S., in a long series of regulatory decisions, has largely abandoned its long-standing regulatory principles and moved in an entirely new direction." more

Today’s Carrier Networks as Trollways?

As I keep pointing out -- there is indeed a viable alternative of a real marketplace not a fake one. Today's system is a fake because it depends on capturing the value of the application - communications - in the transport and that is no longer possible because with the Internet the value is created OUTSIDE the network. One example of the collateral damage caused by today's approach is the utter lack of simple wireless connectivity. Another is that we have redundant capital intensive bit paths whose only purpose is to contain bits within billing paths. more

Is Comcast Impairing Vonage?

On the one hand, the big telcos are chanting the mantram, "We shall not block, impair or degrade any content, service or application." On the other hand, they're saying, "There's no problem. We don't need a law until there's a problem." Well, now. Mitch Shapiro over at IP & Democracy, points to Russell Shaw's post that says: "I have been noticing a growing number of posts in which many Vonage users and Vonage Forum Members have been complaining about the quality of Vonage calls over Comcast broadband connections..." more

Examining the Reality of Convergence

If there is one word in the telecommunications that has suffered from over-abuse for many years now, it's convergence. The term has been liberally applied to each successive generation of communications technology for their supposed ability to solve a myriad of service delivery problems within a single unifying converged carriage and service delivery solution. Unfortunately, the underlying reality has always been markedly different from these wondrous promises, and we continue to see an industry that deploys a plethora of service delivery platforms and an equally diverse collection of associated switching and service delivery technologies. One can't help but wonder at the collective gullibility of an industry that continues to herald the convergent attributes of each new generation of communications technology, while at the same time being forced to admit that previous convergent promises have never been realized. more

VoIP Security FUD

I'm continually amazed by the amount of FUD being spread with regard to VoIP security threats. People...the sky is not falling. VoIP isn't e-mail. It isn't implemented like e-mail, it won't be implemented like e-mail (maybe "it shouldn't be implemented like e-mail" is a more appropriate statement). Following best security practices will ensure at least a level of security equivalent to current TDM systems. Best FUD I've heard this week: VoIP is insecure because you can simply put a bridge on an ethernet line and capture a stream. Hey, has anyone ever heard of alligator clips? more

VoIP’s Threadbare New Clothes

Om has burnt the midnight oil analyzing Vonage's S-1 filing, coming to the conclusion that, while churn may not be as ugly as people thought, it's still cause for concern, and apparently intensifying. His point at the end about definitions is particularly good, as excluding cancellations in the first 30-days is undoubtedly flattering to the numbers. The net present value of Vonage's lifetime customer revenues is an issue which VoIP-watchers have long speculated about with trepidation -- what if marketing spending, churn, and price competition combined to form a toxic soup which fatally poisoned the economic proposition for access-independent VoIP? more

U.S. VoIP and Broadband Policy: Today’s Debate is Off the Mark!

Despite rather rapid growth in broadband access, the U.S. is falling further and further behind other countries -- we're now ranked #16 in the world. What's slowing the U.S. down? Two threads dominate U.S. broadband policy debate today. The first focuses on traditional telecom regulation -- reciprocal compensation, universal service, e911, and CALEA (wiretap capabilities). The second focuses on "Internet freedoms," i.e., guarantees that your broadband access provider won't block or inhibit specific applications like VoIP. more

Disappearing Telephony

I'm just stepping back a minute to think about what Emerging Telephony actually is. You might have seen my earlier musings on the different philosophical underpinnings of "Western" telephony and "Eastern" thought. In an oversimplified nutshell, the Western approach puts the individual in the centre of the universe. The Eastern idea is to put the group in the middle. more

Flushing the ‘Net Down the Tubes

Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surround it this year, read this one. If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about freedom, markets, and innovation. more

Vint Cerf Speaking Out on Internet Neutrality

In a U.S. congress hearing held yesterday November 9th, significant focus was projected on "network neutrality" and a new telecommunications bill affecting the Internet. "This bill could fundamentally alter the fabulously successful end-to-end Internet," says Alan Davidson in the post on Google blog. Vint Cerf was not able to testify because of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award ceremony at the White House, but submitted the following letter to the hearing... more

Averting the Internet Meltdown

A call to action went out: a small, California-based organization called People for Internet Responsibility (PFIR) posted an announcement for an urgent conference - "Preventing the Internet Meltdown." The meltdown that PFIR envisioned was not an impending technical malfunction or enemy attack. Instead, conference organizers foresaw "risks of imminent disruption" to the Internet that would come from an unlikely sector: government officials and bureaucrats working on the unglamorous-sounding problems of Internet Governance. more

U.S. Moving Forward with ENUM

One of the pieces of infrastructure that makes all kinds of networks work and yet gets very little attention is the directory. Directories are big business. For example, there's directory of telephone numbers run by NeuStar, Inc. NeuStar has annual revenues of $92 million. Now, according to Light Reading, AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., together with unidentified cable companies, telephone companies, and ISPs are preparing to form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will run a process to define a new company that will run ENUM. more