Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Vonage Broadband VoIP service provider

Packet8 e911 Coverage Map

December 1, 2005

Someone posted a comment to a recent blog post of mine regarding what I considered the FCC's "impossible e911 mandate" and said, "Quit your whining about poor old Vonage. If Packet8 can meet the FCC mandate, then every other VoIP company should be required to do so - or accept their punishment."

He got suckered into believing the "spin" that Packet8 has put out in their press releases, making it "seem" like Packet8 is completely e911-compliant. But as I replied in the comments to that blog post, the truth is another story. Packet8 used some carefully crafted words in their press release to make it seem like they were 100% e-911 compliant.

Cingular to offer unlimited calling to AT&T

November 30, 2005

TechDirt has an interesting post about how Cingular is testing a program where its customers can make unlimited calls to AT&T landlines for $6 a month. $6 bucks per month just to have unlimited calls to AT&T landlines? That's just crazy talk! If I were to pay for this program using say Vonage's VoIP unlimited plan, the overall phone bill for Cingular/AT&T would be 24% more than Vonage's unlimited plan.

FCC just doesn't understand your Lingo

November 29, 2005

I was notified by a VoIP affiliate program that they are no longer carrying Lingo within their VoIP affiliate portfolio due to e911 requirements by the FCC. Lingo does not currently conform to e911 requirements and therefore they are restricting their marketing efforts. As you probably were aware, the FCC order specifically prohibits marketing and acquiring new customers for any VoIP provider that is not e911 compliant. So does this mean the end for Lingo or any similar VoIP provider?

What's missing from the XBox 360?

November 23, 2005

By all early indications, the Microsoft XBox 360 is a resounding success despite some stories of some XBox 360 muggings and even an Electronic Boutique store held at gunpoint until two XBoxs were handed over. My wife told me a story about her co-worker that witnessed two men "cut the line" to receive a ticket voucher for an XBox 360 resulting in some people in the line getting a baseball bat and beating them up. The police arrived and cordoned off the parking lot entrance preventing any other naive XBox 360 wannabees from entering and hoping beyond hope that they might get one.

In any event, Microsoft has been trying desperately to get a foothold in the living room, which has made the cable companies a bit nervous as Microsoft is trying to get more market share in the increasingly important home-entertainment market to compete with Apple, Sony, and others. In fact, last week's announcement between Microsoft and CableLabs to allow Microsoft
and PC manufacturers to bring to market digital-cable-ready (including
HD) content to Windows Media Center-based PCs and XBox's bypassing a cable set-top box could be another "foot in the door" to your living room by Microsoft.

A peek inside Vonage headquarters

November 8, 2005

SBC wants to extort VoIP service providers

October 31, 2005

Russell Shaw's blog brought to my attention an interesting BusinessWeek article quoting SBC CEO Edward Whitacre where he basically says in so many words, "VoIP providers will have to 'pay to play' on SBC's broadband pipes". Check out the exact quote from the article.

How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them.

Vonage uses Covergence for e911

October 17, 2005

I had a conference call last week with Covergence, about their pending announcment with Vonage that explains that Covergence is the company that powers Vonage's e911 service. Covergence is an interesting company that has been stealthily flying under the VoIP radar screen, including my radar.

Basically, Covergence is similar to a Session Border Controller (SBC) but much more advanced offering unified security and management of network applications. For example, it is application aware, including SIP-aware and can route e911 PSAP information to the appropriate 911 emergency services gateway.

Sprint sues Vonage

October 5, 2005

Sprint Nextel has sued Vonage,
and Voiceglo claiming they have infringed on seven patents related to Internet telephony technology.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by one of Sprint Nextel's subsidiaries, seeking an injunction that would
bar the defendants from using Sprint Nextel's patented
technology and seeks unspecified monetary damages. It's unclear from what I have read if this is related to the Nextel patents that use packetized delivery of voice for the annoying "push-to-talk" feature that Nextel phones have. If it is related to this patent, then one-way CB-radio like functionality is not the same as full-duplex VoIP communication. Besides, VocalTec did VoIP way before Nextel ever did.

From what I understand, the patents cover technology that enable the processing and delivery of voice over Internet Protocol.

ENUM ain't gonna happen

September 30, 2005

Mr. Blog
had some interesting thoughts a couple of days ago.

As we near the end of 2005, what is the status of ENUM? The original RFCs were published in 2000 I believe.
Is there a single commercial VoIP provider that supports the official ENUM? If they do, they certainly don't promote it or mention it anywhere on their web sites that I can find. Vonage, AT&T CallVantage, Packet8, Broadvoice, SunRocket?

More on FCC VoIP wiretaps

September 28, 2005

It appears that the new FCC rules to allow a backdoor for wiretapping is not going to happen without a fight. Declan McCullagh reports that The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said Wednesday that it plans to file suit against the new federal rule. The only thing that Declan may have gotten slightly wrong is this part in bold where he only refers to SkypeOut:

the Federal Communications Commission said that broadband providers and Internet phone companies that link to the public telephone network (Vonage, Packet 8, SkypeOut) must rewire their networks to readily accommodate police wiretaps. If they don't comply, they must shut down.

As I have recently stated here and here, it appears that not only is SkypeOut applicable to this new FCC wiretapping rules, but plain-ole' Skype (Skype-to-Skype) calls fall under the FCC wiretap guidelines as well.
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