It would appear that Vonage is not the only broadband VoIP provider with a major outage this week. I blogged the Vonage outage and joked that maybe it was a conspiracy by the phone companies to intentionally block Vonage's traffic.
Well, it's no joke in Korea. Apparently, a Korean company, PCCW, is accused of blocking rival phone services to Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) and and Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) for about 15 hours on Sunday and Monday.
Here's the kicker. Both Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) and Hutchison Global both offer broadband VoIP that competes with PCCW's land-line offering. For example, HKBN is HK$38 a month versus PCCW's HK$110/month.
See the full story:
Standard --PCCW accused of blocking rival VolP phone services
PCCW accused of blocking rival VolP phone services
Also, it might be worth checking out this link which discusses network neutrality:
Will Providers Provide Equally?
Here's an excerpt of the article:
Among the many things the Internet does with incredible efficiency is breed conspiracy theories.
So as the great network has evolved, concerns about whether the companies that control the Internet's pipes might one day discriminate among what Web sites you could see, or whose movies you could download, have often been dismissed as silly, impossible or both.
In a controversial report issued early this month, Yankee analysts looked at one of today's hottest technologies, voice service over the Internet, also known as VoIP. Specifically, the analysts were pessimistic that the biggest VoIP player today, New Jersey-based Vonage Corp., could survive once the cable and telephone companies that provide most broadband Internet connections jump into the VoIP game, as they are beginning to do.
Primarily, the analysts said, the Internet operators would effectively bundle VoIP with other offerings, making it hard for independents such as Vonage to compete. But the analysts also said this:
"It may seem like a dodgy competitive tactic, but broadband network providers could slow down Vonage's service. As subscribers increase their use of latency sensitive and graphic rich . . . traffic, broadband providers could give network precedence to their own revenue-generating services. Unless Vonage pays fees to the network provider, there is no reason the operator should not make the service a lower priority on the network."
This is a bit chilling to Vonage chief executive Jeffrey Citron."
Needless to say, I am concerned that service providers could put the "squeeze" on smaller players such as Vonage. However, I don't think regulation is needed right now. I think intentionally blocking or slowing VoIP traffic would cause them bad press not to mention open them up to huge liabilities. Just imagine if an ISP ever intentionally "slowed" down or blocked VoIP traffic to Vonage and someone tried to dial 911, but couldn't get through? If someone died as a result, the result could be a multi-million dollar lawsuit.