Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
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March 2006

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RingCentral

March 31, 2006

Any business can use a shot in the arm. While you're at it why not put some steroids in that shot? Hey if they can do it in professional sports, why not try it in your company? Of course I am kidding.

Do Banner Ads Work?

March 31, 2006

This morning on CNBC there was a market researcher from ACNielsen explaining that graphical banner ads don't work. Joe Kernan was interviewing the researcher and was almost ranting about how banner ads don't work. He was agreeing 100%. He says he never looks at them.

Explaining TDM

March 31, 2006

Quoted in Investor's Business Daily Cover Story

March 31, 2006

I was quoted today in the cover story of Investor's Business Daily or IBD. The title of the story is Supreme Court's eBay Patent Right Case Has Both Sides Saying Innovation At Risk. Here is an excerpt containing my quote:

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"The reform has to happen at a more fundamental level," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with research firm Gartner. "Congress has to go back and reform the laws.



Voice Peering Forum Miami 2006 Day One

March 31, 2006

When I arrived at the show today I met with Shrihari Pandit the person who invented the concept of the Voice Peering Fabric (VPF) and we spoke for a great while about all the things going on with the VPF and all the new members who have joined. Perhaps most important is AT&T. Incidentally I blogged about the rumors of AT&T joining the VPF a few days back.

I went to Excel's booth first -- whoops -- the new name is Cantata and when I got there someone was literally going off on a competitive board vendor based in Israel. He continued to explain how technicians from the company are supposed to call but never do.

Snapshot Pages

March 30, 2006

Voice Peering Summit in Miami -- Just Arrived

March 30, 2006

I just landed in Miami and am pretty excited to be at the Voice Peering Forum later today. I met with Andy Voss of Sansay already and hope to catch up with more colleagues and friends later today.

I am still working on my presentation for the keynote tomorrow. Hopefully the crowd won't stay out too late and will be sufficiently caffeinated for my presentation. If not I will just have to blow them away with content and enthusiasm

I am currently eating lunch/working on Miami Beach (where the hotel's only open restaurant is located) and it will be very very difficult for me to go inside soon.



State of the Industry

March 30, 2006

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook:

I have been on a trade show tour recently and I can't tell you how excited I am to have chosen the VoIP industry as my home. There are more new products and innovations being announced daily and, everywhere you look, there is boundless optimism. More importantly, we're seeing real sales and profit from not only the vendors to the VoIP market, but the customers themselves.

I am seeing a revival in the contact center industry as well and companies like Mitel and Inter-Tel are announcing new contact center initiatives. These companies weren't traditionally entrenched call center players, but they are increasingly getting into the space.

In addition, IMS is taking off.





Continuous Computing Problems

March 29, 2006

At the last Internet Telephony show I heard a bunch of complaining about Continuous Computing. Complaints about service levels, responsiveness, etc. In addition I overheard a conversation of an irate Continuous Computing partner.

I am sure every company has a customer or two that that feels this way about them from time to time. In my position I get to hear many customer complaints… Perhaps too many.

A Competitive Telecom Proof

March 29, 2006

While it’s been decades since my last geometry class here is the first proof I have written since high school. After rereading this a few times it is obviously not a proof but still reminds me enough of one for me to post it. Hope you enjoy it.

1) Phone companies don’t support net neutrality
2) The argument goes, why should they have to subsidize competitors if they own the pipes?
3) The nature of the Internet will be changed worldwide as phone companies convince the US government that net neutrality is bad
4) They argue they cannot afford to build out their networks if companies like Google can ride for free and make money
5) Although they promise not to interfere with the Internet and imply they will only add a high-speed lane they charge for, most experts expect them to enforce their monopoly positions by extracting royalties from companies they compete with
6) Industry experts argue net neutrality is fair
6A) Phone companies are about making money for shareholders and not about being fair (which they are legally bound to do)
7) Recently phone companies have started to complain that cable companies will not run their ads
8) Cable companies argue that they shouldn’t run ads from their competitors
9) AT&T, filed a complaint yesterday with the FCC claiming that cable companies are trying to thwart competition.
10) The phone companies argue the cable companies aren’t fair
10A) #6A applies to cable companies as well
11) While broadband policy in the US centers around who has the best lobbyists and lawyers, other countries continue to surpass the US in broadband access because they have real broadband competition or because those countries have decided that real broadband access is a priority
12) Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free from Iliad that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet.
12A) For now France lags behind the US in broadband penetration
13) Iliad has created intense competition in France, and that has resulted in faster broadband speeds. Free offers download speeds of up to 24 megabits per second.
















Wireless Disruption

March 29, 2006

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook:

I think this year will see serious wireless disruption. In my life, I have witnessed many a technology look to replace Ethernet only to find out that Ethernet was an evolving standard that kept changing with the times.

So, instead of replacing Ethernet, we just kept upgrading it. No matter what new technology came onto the scene, it never gained traction.

History repeats itself and, if you picture WiFi as the wireless equivalent of Ethernet, then you can figure the technology will keep evolving as well to fight off the replacement technologies.

In this case, I think WiMAX may be the technology that gets hurt by WiFi. Technology already exists to extend the reach of WiFi, but I anticipate this will be the year where we see a technology emerge that extends the range of WiFi in such ways that WiMAX loses its edge in many applications. Mesh networking may be this technology, but I imagine that WiFi's range can be extended to a few miles without too much effort, and mesh networks, coupled with long-range WiFi might eliminate the need for WiMAX in areas where it is feasible to pepper your access points.







Going on a Road Trip today

March 28, 2006

The Problem with TV

March 28, 2006

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook:

Most business magazines will tell you the phone companies will have a tough time unseating the cable companies when it comes to TV transmission. Here is why every one of those magazines and newspapers is wrong: HDTV selection stinks today. Apparently, I spent a fortune for a 60" HDTV so I could watch but a handful of channels on it.

Most of what I watch is not HDTV and I either can have a black square around what I view or choose to stretch the picture to fill the whole screen. Every actor gains 20 pounds if I use the latter approach, and I am sick and tired of paying more for a TV that, most of the time, makes my TV viewing experience worse.

The phone companies should supply 50 HD channels, or even more.





VoIP Peering keeps Reappearing

March 27, 2006

VoIP: More Symbiotic than ever

March 27, 2006

Just over a year ago I got fed up with the term parasitic being used to describe VoIP vendors. Countless people I knew actually went out and got broadband connections so they could use Skype. I understood fully well that VoIP providers are not parasites as many called them but instead added a tremendous amount of value.

I was inspired to write VoIP: Not Parasitic.

I argued that broadband and VoIP providers are symbiotic meaning both services benefit from one another.

Today I read an article on Techdirt that was pointed out by Ted Wallingford. The argument goes, why is Verizon paying CBS to carry their stations via IPTV and thinking of charging companies like Vonage?





On to VoIP Peering

March 27, 2006

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook:

On to VoIP Peering
Everywhere I turn, people remind me that I declared 2006 the "Year of VoIP Peering." At least, it seems that everyone agrees. The numbers I am seeing coming out of the VPF, for example, are staggering. The total number of minutes carried each year seems to grow exponentially on their peering network.

In addition, there are rumors that AT&T will join the VPF. The announcement was not made formally, but my sources tell me there is a good chance it will happen.




Telecom Whitepapers

March 27, 2006

Internet Telephony Magazine April 2006 Publisher's Outlook

March 26, 2006

The following is a portion of my April 2006 Internet Telephony Magazine Publisher's Outlook:

There is Enough Broadband Competition

I get the general sense that our government believes we already have enough broadband competition. I think that the FCC believes service providers should be allowed to charge anyone and everyone who uses their pipes whatever they need in order to pay for the maintenance and further build-out of their networks.

We have witnessed the slow dissolution of the CLEC market in the past years; we have seen the slow and steady decrease of ILECs; and we have just about reassembled the former AT&T.

Many taking this side of the argument will point out that cable and VoIP companies are generating sufficient competition along with wireless, broadband over power line, and satellite.

In the late nineties, we thought the market would be best served with thousands of CLECs serving customers. That was the environment the government set up. Now it seems that the FCC is happy with just a handful of strong competitors.

Many have seen me quoted in such newspapers as The New York Times as a proponent of net neutrality, but let's face it, the lobbyists with the Ferraris work for the phone companies.

In addition, it is fairly obvious that current FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin, has little or no interest in net neutrality.













SSD

March 25, 2006

As I spend more and more time in hotel rooms I find my laptop often wakes me up at night due to the various applications that are set to run after hours. There is the disk defragmenter, the anti-spyware program, the virus scanner, etc. it is a wonder I get any sleep at all with all my computer is doing right next to my head in most hotel rooms.

Sure I can turn the computer off but then I am a day behind in my protection from hackers, viruses and worms.

Obviously I am looking forward to faster and quieter hard drives such as this one from Samsung based on SSD which stands for solid-state disk technology. The storage device features immediately accessible, static NAND flash memory rather than the rotating discs usually used in hard drives

What’s more, SSD weighs only half as much as a hard drive.





Web Portals

March 25, 2006

Call Center Mexico

March 24, 2006

EVDO revision A

March 24, 2006

EV-DO Revision A as a relatively new technology for wireless broadband access that will rock our worlds. For those of us who live on the road, we may not sacrifice our broadband connectivity at all. We’ll be able to do anything and everything with 3.1 Mbps downloads and 1.8 Mbps uploads. I am still not sure I’ll want to upload 100 8-megapixel photos over this connection but I am sure I won’t need to deal with WiFi hotspots ever again.

I have a rule that says if I am going to be in a location for more than an hour I will sign up for WiFi but if not I will use the current EVDO card that I have.

Alcatel may Purchase Lucent

March 24, 2006

Ensim News

March 23, 2006

If you are a service provider you know time to market is key and anything you can do to shorten this is worth exploring. Now what if I told you there is a vendor who wants to speed your time to market and in addition wants to simplify the way you deliver hosted services?

Ensim aims to help you with some of your most challenging problems and then some. Their Unify application enables service providers to centrally create, control and deliver hosted IP and application services.

We live in a world where you need to deploy a number of disparate best of breed solutions to customers. At the same time you need to be cognizant of the fact that the competition may be offering similar services.



China Blog News

March 23, 2006

VoIP Service Provider Directory

March 23, 2006

Great White Monopoly

March 23, 2006

Asterisk Saves Your Marriage

March 23, 2006

I now know a few people who have installed Asterisk at home. When I first heard the idea I thought it was crazy but there are lots of interesting things you can do with the software. In one case a person who installed Asterisk configured the system to stop an affair between someone and his wife. What he did was make sure that calls to each person were directed to an extension on the PBX that never answers.

Very clever.

Hunter Newby on Net Neutrality and VoIP Peering

March 22, 2006

You may know Hunter Newby from Telx as he writes a VoIP peering column for Internet Telephony Magazine. I often speak at events with Hunter and this past week I was speaking about voice peering at Comptel while Hunter was at another event on the same day addressing the same topic.

Hunter asked if there were any good questions from the audience and I told him that there was a question about how peering affects Net Neutrality.

Hunter's response was as follows and I thought it worthy of passing along:

The Darwinian solution to Net Neutrality is private Internets. Voice peering occurs in this context. So, it is already having an impact.


Hunter is right on.

If you want to see Hunter and I speak together in one place and get some sun while you are at it, be sure to be in Miami next week for the VoIP Peering Summit sponsored by the VPF.

I just finished speaking today in St. Louis and my voice has been giving out on me for the past few days.










VoIP for SMB Community

March 21, 2006

New Telephony on my VoIP Peering Panel

March 21, 2006

New Telephony does a great job describing my peering panel today in San Diego at Comptel. Here is an excerpt:

The panel will be moderated by Rich Tehrani, president of communications media company TMC and founder of Internet Telephony, SIP and IMS Magazines, and will include Jim Dalton, CEO of Transnexus; Don McNeil, vice president of carrier services operations at XO Communications; and Shrihari Pandit, founder of Stealth Networks Inc.'s The Voice Peering Fabric, a leading VoIP peering provider based in the United States.

Tehrani says 2006 will be the year of VoIP peering. He points to the announcement just a few weeks ago of a joint initiative of cable operators in The Netherlands – comprising UPC Netherlands, Casema, MultiKabel, Essent and CaiW – with more than 7 million subscribers and more than 450,000 VoIP subscribers. They awarded a VoIP peering contract to a partnership of XConnect, a provider of VoIP interconnection services based in the United Kingdom, and Kayote Networks, a provider of interconnectivity products for routing and peering.



FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Speech

March 20, 2006

Today, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin spoke at the Comptel Spring 2006 show to a group of a few hundred competitive service providers. Comptel is not the first place you would imagine the Chairman would speak. In fact I thought I would see George W. Bush speaking on the benefits of Democracy and the perils of nuclear energy in Iran before I would see an FCC commissioner address Comptel.

In general Comptel is an organization that has embraced lobbying the government to increase telecom competition. The group has done this incessantly if not successfully as the pro competitive telecom environment has slowly been eaten away by the FCC over the years.

So as I was surprised to hear Kevin Martin would speak at this event, I was extremely impressed by his decision to do so.

I missed part of the discussion but the parts I heard were quite interesting.





Cramer Bullish on Mindspeed

March 20, 2006

Jim Cramer who used to be bearish on VoIP is now a massive bear based on tonight's Mad Money program where he went "madder" than usual discussing how fast VoIP will grow. Apparently this article in the Washington Post is what started this fire. He surmised that Mindspeed would benefit greatly from the rapid growth in the VoIP market.

On a side note, in a past show Jim mentioned Skype would be a reason to bet against ILECs.

Getting back to Mindspeed, there are so many public companies benefiting from VoIP from Avaya to Inter-Tel. I am surprised he picked Mindspeed and focused on them so heavily. His praise seems to have done the trick as the stock is up in after hours trading.



WiFi on Airlines

March 20, 2006

I am looking forward to more widespread adoption of broadband on domestic flights. Here is an article from itWorldCanada discussing the issue. I was quoted in the article and so was Greg Welch from GlobalTouch Telecom:

But many other players, not just big telcos, may also try to get a piece of the action, says Greg Welch, CEO of GlobalTouch Telecom Inc., a VoIP provider based in Los Angeles, Calif.

"This could be a telecom play only, but other providers of ancillary services may also be interested," he says. "Content providers like Google or Yahoo! may get involved, and even a company like Microsoft may want to get into this space and get control.



Intrado E911 Enhanced

March 20, 2006

GPS technology is helpful in locating people in open areas but anyone who has tried to get a GPS system to work in a parking garage knows how difficult it can be have the system find the satellites that triangulate your exact location.

Fortunately Intrado is doing its part to help overcome this limitation and has found a way to make VoIP 911 in buildings more accurate than ever. They are working with a number of partners who have developed separate but ingenious ways of ensuring you can be found in-building in case of an emergency.

One partner, Rosum Corporation, utilizes triangulation of television signals to pinpoint location. Another, S5 Wireless Inc. has developed a special chip which works with remarkable accuracy inside buildings. The S5 chip costs under $1, is smaller than a pencil eraser, and has a battery life of about 3 years.



Google vs. KinderStart.com

March 19, 2006

The overwhelming power that Google possesses is awe-inspiring. Your web traffic can be so tied to your Google ranking that a slight change in how you rank could ruin your business. Furthermore, when you are blacklisted by Google your site doesn't appear -- even if you search on your site's name!

Being blacklisted means you have done something wrong in the eyes of the search engine and is probably the worst fate a site can suffer.

In some cases the site's ranking can drop so they are near the last listing Google shows for a search term - result number 1,000. Recently BMW's German site was blacklisted on Google and this may be the highest profile site Google has decided to blacklist.

It is still a gray area that differentiates legitimate search engine optimization techniques from those that are not allowed.





Friends of Skype

March 18, 2006

iPod Neutrality

March 17, 2006

While we in the US are all busy talking about Net Neutrality and the pros and cons of each side of the argument, French government officials are beginning to implement music neutrality, which will force Apple to ensure its music service and players work with competing services and players.

They are doing this to prevent monopolistic practices by Apple. However in my opinion the iPod/iTunes combination is not a monopoly at all. There are competing music services and players. It is fairly easy in fact to develop a new music player or music downloading service.

One might be able to argue that the broadband situation in the US is much more monopolistic than iPod/iTunes combo.

The arguments in both cases are similar.





Bill Gates On the $100 Laptop

March 17, 2006

Application Blog

March 16, 2006

One of the trends I have been seeing in the market is increased communications integration into Microsoft applications such as Outlook and Internet Explorer. The goal being to allow communications to be initiated while you are in the applications you use most often. Broadsoft has such a toolbar and they have recently upgraded it allowing increased functionality. In addition Broadsoft customers who are generally service providers can allow their customers to customize the toolbar with things like intranet links or a corporate logo.

On a similar note -- I recently met up with Brian Ross from Pika Technologies and we were talking about Vonage and Brian explained that if Vonage had a toolbar that allowed call control from the desktop it would make the service that much better.

Verizon XV6700

March 15, 2006

Until recently I carried a Blackberry 7750 and a bluetooth phone. I am a Verizon Wireless user and no other network has been as good in my past experience. Both my devices reside on this network. Perhaps the new Cingular has a better network but for now I am sticking with Verizon.

Recently my phone died and I went to the Verizon store looking for a new one.

More IMS Forum News

March 14, 2006

As you may know I speak at Comptel next week. Here is a release I received today about the event and the IMS forum. I thought it worth sharing:

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IMS FORUM EXECUTIVES TO SPEAK AT UPCOMING COMPTEL PLUS;
HOLD QUARTERLY MEETING OPEN TO ATTENDEES







Leading Industry Group to Exhibit at COMPTEL PLUS Booth 424, as well as
Provide Expertise, Insight on Emerging Industry Demand For Network Convergence, Bundled IP Services and Applications



Fremont, CA (March 14, 2006) – The IMS Forum, the industry association recognized as the Voice of IP Convergence, today announced that it is hosting a meeting open to all attendees in Room Annie B, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, on Monday, March 20, 2006, from 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM, at the upcoming COMPTEL PLUS Conference & EXPO in San Diego. In addition to exhibiting at booth 424, the Forum announced that Chairman Michael Khalilian, Marketing Committee Chair Farshid Mohammadi (General Manager, UTStarcom), Marketing and Technical Advisor, Manuel Vexler (CTO, CopperCom), member Sara Hughes, (Director of Product Management of Tekelec), and member Matt Byrd (Director of Product Marketing, MetaSwitch) will be leading and participating in panel discussions at the conference as well.

The mission of the IMS Forum is to accelerate the adoption of IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) by providing an environment for discussion and resolution of real-world implementation issues, such as interoperability and standards-based architectures in the application layer.



Skype Bluetooth Headset

March 14, 2006

Speaking in Atlanta

March 14, 2006

What is SIP Scared of?

March 13, 2006

Small Business VoIP Community

March 13, 2006

Companies Worth Watching

March 13, 2006

Here is an overview of some companies I have recently met with:

Bluenote Networks continues to make noise. The company makes products that leverage p2p and SOA to enable companies to communicate more effectively. Soon they will open up an API allowing other developers to have access to their platform so they can augment it with new and exciting applications.

In addition they will focus on enabling voice communities from the most basic click to talk applications on your website to enabling a site like ESPN to host conferences made up of basketball fans.

So far Bluenote, Sphere and Avaya have been pushing SOA and communications integration and I think this concept has legs and will take off in 2007.

Spectralink is introducing DECT-based phones aimed and the SME market. DECT is a wireless phone standard that originated in Europe and is heading to America.







SIP Magazine Publisher's Outlook, Issue 2

March 13, 2006

Here is my second Publisher's Outlook in issue number 2 of SIP Magazine. Hope you enjoy it. It doesn't have a title yet. Possible options are Avaya boards the SIP train, Avaya SIPs its way to the top of the market (too corny), A SIP enabled phone on every SMB desk, Avaya's SIP Strategy -- Beat em by Joining them (referring to Cisco phones -- if you have to explain it, it probably is a bad title.) Thankfully Greg Galitzine is better at writing titles than I. Take it away Greg:

The whole premise of launching SIP Magazine was to develop a place where the community of people who are involved in SIP development and deployment to go when they wanted to learn what is happening in the world of SIP.

Late Start Today

March 10, 2006

Blackberry NTP Legal Analysis

March 9, 2006

The news of the day is whether the United Nations Security Council will impose sanctions on Iran. Sanctions are the ultimate weapon of pain (not including war of course) and are meant to bring a country to its knees in order to get them to do something. In Iran's case the UN Security Council wants the country to stop developing nuclear material that can be used in an atomic weapon.

This controversy got me thinking about how tough it is to get consensus in the UN to impose sanctions on a country. Moreover I started to wonder if a single patent suit can't bring a country to its knees imposing even more pain than sanctions.

Such was the case with the RIM Vs. NTP case that was recently settled for over $600 million dollars.



China Grants VoIP License

March 9, 2006

Payola

March 9, 2006

One of DC’s top radio hosts and overall great guy, David Burd explained how payola works to me a while back when I asked about why so many of the same songs are played continuously on the same station. He explained that recording labels used to pay the stations to keep playing the same music. In our discussion we also talked about how this practice is not happening so much anymore.

My conversation with the “Burdman” took place a number of years ago – back in the days when I had more time and regularly contributed as a technology reporter for the station.

I was reminded of this conversation when I saw this article about how Eliot Spitzer is going after radio stations for taking payola in return for playing songs from artists such as Liz Phair.



Heading Back From Orlando

March 8, 2006

Unified Communications

March 7, 2006

Quoted in the New York Times

March 7, 2006

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic as a number of reporters have been asking me about VoIP and net neutrality in order to get my opinions on the matters. I have lost track of all the different reporters and am trying to get a better handle on who writes what and when in fact.

I was very excited to see that my comments were used in an excellent article by Ken Belson from the New York Times titled The High-Speed Money Line. The premise of the article is that it is unclear what consumers and content providers would have to pay ISPs if net neutrality is not enforced.

Here are my quotes

"There's no limit to what they could charge for this high-speed lane and they could make the slow-speed lane as slow as they want," said Rich Tehrani, president of Technology Marketing Corporation, a media company that promotes Internet phone service. "There's no way to know today what the prices might be, but it could be anything, and that's the fear."

Mr. Tehrani and others fear that companies that compete with the network providers - for instance, the Internet phone provider Vonage - may not get the chance to sign up for faster access, even if they want it.




I am happy that Mr. Belson chose to write about this topic because mainstream America probably doesn't understand the issues at hand. They don't understand that the Internet itself is at risk.






Multisite Call Center Webinar

March 6, 2006

I wanted to invite the readers of my blog to join in learning about Multisite Call Center Strategies to Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity. Here is an e-mail explains the webinar in more detail.

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Dear Colleague,

As an industry professional, we wanted to let you know that a Complimentary Webinar will be occurring on Tomorrow, March 7th at 11:00am PT. Please feel free to register for the event by the link given below.


"Multisite Call Center Strategies To Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity"


Date: March 7th
Time: 11:00am PT (2:00pm EST)
Register here: Register here: http://www.tmcnet.com/Webinar/telephonyatwork/


Today's enterprise customer service strategy can include multiple in-house agent sites, multiple outsourced call centers and a geographically-dispersed staff of home-based remote agents. Traditional IT and telecom infrastructures, however, were never designed to support this distributed strategy. Newer, "multi-tenant" contact center technology solutions can dramatically reduce acquisition and management costs by enabling all sites and agents to share common unified infrastructure, without sacrificing data privacy, network security or local control.
















DiamondWare

March 6, 2006

The future of VoIP is in how it will enable and integrate with future applications. That is where the excitement is for me. After covering the space for ten years I am happy to see that new applications are beginning to emerge that are enabled by VoIP. It will be interesting to watch the market and see which applications will gain critical mass.

AT&T BellSouth Merger

March 5, 2006

The merger between telecom giants, AT&T and Bellsouth was expected and was mentioned in an Executive Suite interview I had many months ago with Aaron Cowell the CEO of US LEC.

With this merger it seems that the old Ma Bell is set to make a glorious comeback. For many years this nation thought the reason that Ma Bell was broken up was because it was a monopoly and was stifling competition.

It seems recently that politicians have deemed the last few decades of competitive telecom to be a failure and the progress made by allowing different LECs to compete with the likes of companies like AT&T and MCI was apparently a bad idea.

So brick by brick, the old AT&T is being put back together.

It was always obvious that an independent AT&T prior to the SBC merger was a huge thorn in the sides of the ILECs. LECS know how to lobby and so did AT&T. This ensured the incumbents played on an even playing field with AT&T. Now that AT&T is gone, how have consumers benefited?

One would have expected a wealth of new low-cost products from the combined AT&T and SBC but instead AT&T's most competitive product, CallVantage has been hidden since the merger was announced.

The Houston Chronicle has a good amount of information about the merger in the following article and it is worth analyzing parts of it.

The merger will streamline the ownership and operations of Cingular Wireless, which is jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth.













IP Multimedia Subsystem

March 4, 2006

IPcommunications.com spoke to Walt Brown, a network systems architect for Intel's Communication Infrastructure Group, to find out exactly why IMS contains the magic bullets that will help bridge circuit- and packet-switched communications as networks evolve to the next generation of functionality. Brown also works on the Telecoms & Internet converged Services & Protocols for Advanced Networks (TISPAN) group, a standardization body of European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). TISPAN incorporates elements of 3GPP IMS in its next-generation network architecture. The organization focuses on fixed networks and convergence with the goal of promoting a subsystem-oriented architecture in which network resources, applications and user equipment are standards based and common to all subsystems.

The resulting article is an excellent primer on IMS, why IMS is needed and where it fits from a social and technical perspective.

"One of the big problems is that there are two sets of history coming at the marketplace," said Brown.



Why Blackberry Settled

March 4, 2006

There are a few reasons why RIM settled with NTP and paid more than $600 million. RIM lost focus as a result of this lawsuit and the competitors are circling while smelling blood. RIM's devices need to rapidly improve or they will be left in the dust by the likes of Palm, Motorola and others.

Perhaps the biggest reason is that they see customer sales plunging as the negative press has customers looking under rocks for any other option.

As Russell Shaw points out the stock price gains alone by settling are worth the amount they paid to NTP.

In the end this whole fiasco was a major blunder on the part of RIM. This case should have been settled a long time ago and by now RIM should have been launching new and innovative products at a rate similar to Apple.

What they need to do now is come out with so many different devices that whatever your need, you'll find the right Blackberry for you.

Russell really went all out with his analysis of RIM's thinking.









Is 'Net Neutrality' Enforceable?

March 4, 2006

TMCnet’s Patrick Barnard sent me a blog entry as this doesn’t pass as an article in its current form. Pat doesn’t have a blog at the moment so I figured I would post it for him. There are some thought-provoking ideas here and I hope this post stimulates a debate on the issues below.

What really makes this post valuable is that many CLECs accused the LECs of underhanded behavior that caused them to fail. What the LECs were accused of doing often times were not easy to prove.

CallVantage Service Update

March 4, 2006

CallVantage is going through what seems to be an unusual sort of maintenance where the 911 database cannot be updated if you move during the next few weeks. I surmise this has to do with integrating CallVantage with SBC systems.

I wonder if there are FCC implications here. What happens if someone doesn’t pay attention to these messages? Is it their fault or the fault of AT&T?

Here is the actual message that was sent to customers:

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This is a very important notice for AT&T CallVantage service customers.







Fusion Telecommunications

March 3, 2006

Internet Nondiscrimination Act

March 3, 2006

By now you may have heard of Senator Wyden’s “Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006.” Under the proposed bill, network operators would be prohibited from charging companies for faster delivery of their content to consumers over the Internet or favoring certain content over others.

“Creating a two-tiered system could have a chilling effect on small mom and pop businesses that can’t afford the priority lane, leaving these smaller businesses no hope of competing against the Wal-Marts of the world,” Wyden said in a prepared statement today. “Neutrality in technology enables small businesses to thrive on the Internet, and allows folks to start small and dream big, and that’s what I want to protect with this legislation.”

Senator Wyden should be commended for introducing this bill and bringing the issue to the public spotlight. From my perch, it is obvious that if the government doesn’t get involved, the future of the Internet will be very different from its past.

VoIP has changed the way the world communicates and has been the biggest thorn in the side of incumbent providers. Imagine an Internet where VoIP providers would have to pay extra to give you service.





VoIP Peering Keynote in Miami

March 2, 2006

Join me in Miami for my keynote at the Voice Peering Forum. I declared 2006 as the year of VoIP peering and I think I was spot on. Come to this forum and find out where the world of VoIP peering is today and where we are going in the future.

Here are the details:

Voice Peering ForumTM
Spring 2006
March 30 & 31 (Thursday & Friday), Miami, FL, USA



Register Now via vProfile  (see Attendee Qualifications)

The Forum

Stealth Communications is pleased to announce the Voice Peering Forum Spring 2006, with our local host Progress Telecom. The forum will be held on Thursday and Friday, March 30-31, 2006 at Wyndham Miami Beach Resort, in Miami, Florida.

With the success of the Voice Peering Forum Fall 2005, VPF continues to bring together industry experts who are c-level executives and business directors to share their insights on the latest business and technology implementations while keeping you up-to-date on current issues and treads.

Come and learn how VPF Members and Partners reduce their operating costs, simplify their network and increase revenues through:

Voice Peering Implementations
Bi-Lateral Peering (Least-Cost-Routing) and Multi-Lateral Peering (ENUM)
Transitioning to IP based trunking for voice origination, voice termination and SS7
Voice Peering Technologies and Techniques
Strategy, Design and Best Practices for VoIP Security & QoS

The Voice Peering Forum Spring 2006 will also feature:
One-on-One Meetings and General Networking with 350+ attendees
Tutorials and crash courses on VoIP gateways, session controllers and testing equipment
Guide to key Carrier Hotels and Ethernet Providers of North America

Join us at the Voice Peering Forum Spring 2006!

Preliminary Agenda

Thursday, March 30, 2006

08:00 am - 09:00 am


































ATA Technology Forum

March 2, 2006

Online Gaming Eats Bandwidth

March 2, 2006

1&1 Free .info Domains

March 2, 2006

Viper Networks

March 2, 2006

There are many newcomers to the VoIP market. Indeed every day there are new companies entering the space and claiming to be leaders at this or pioneers at that. Viper Networks is one of the companies that has been in the business for a long time, is publicly traded and is headed by Ron Weaver the dynamic VoIP pioneer that believed in VoIP way before it was fashionable.

Recently Ron became Chairman of the Board and Farid Shouekani was named as the new CEO. I never met Farid and decided that I wanted to get his take on the future of VoIP.

Net Neutrality News

March 2, 2006

Net Neutrality Thoughts

March 2, 2006

The Wall Street Journal has a great article on net neutrality and in it there are quotes from people against net neutrality from companies such as Vonage and Cisco. On the opposing side of course are LECs. Here is an excerpt:

"Any model that allows the consumer to have more control and more choice makes sense to us," says BellSouth Chief Technology Officer William Smith, who is contemplating the new models but has no immediate plans to implement them.

Mr. Smith often laments the fact that his parents, who use the Internet for only low-capacity activities such as Web surfing and email, pay fees similar to those of heavy users who suck up capacity by downloading music or using BitTorrent, which is used by millions to download movies and other material off the Internet. Overall at BellSouth, 1% of broadband customers drive 40% of Internet traffic, he says. "People who drive cost in the network create additional charges in the network," Mr. Smith says.



VoIP VP of Marketing Looking to Switch

March 1, 2006

Dinosaurs and VoIP

March 1, 2006

Net Neutrality Article

March 1, 2006

Vonage Crosses 1.5 Million Line Mark

March 1, 2006

Ether

March 1, 2006

Tom Keating reports that a new company called Ether has found a way for bloggers and other people with something valuable to say to charge for their services. For example, accountants and lawyers. Ether will take 15% for providing this service, meaning the Internet will be a savior for knowledgeable people looking to make some extra money.

What is interesting to me is that after years of seeing call center agents being moved from fixed call centers to home agents, the trend has truly been democratized. I am aware of a call center that hires nurses to answer questions about the parent company’s medical products.

News From the Blogs

March 1, 2006

Andy Abramson alerted me to a controversy between AMD and Intel that centers around conferencing in Skype. It seems that AMD feels Intel has coerced Skype into adding functionality on Intel but not AMD chips. If this is true, it is a pretty smart move by Intel. Of course I am not sure of the antitrust implications as I suppose AMD would have to prove that they couldn’t get Skype to make a similar deal with them.

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