Freeside Internet Services, Inc. is the company behind the open-source telecom billing system named Freeside. Peter Bowen was named President and CEO on January 1, 2010. Ivan Kohler steps down as president but remains as the chief architect for the software.
Bowen points out that open source is free like a puppy. Freeside is offered free for the download, but is also offered a couple of paid ways. (The Freemium model that Red Hat uses). One way is to hire Freeside for Set-Up. The customer gets a base install of the product and for a modest monthly charge can get monthly maintenance as well. The other way is for carriers to buy the complete appliance from Freeside.
Of course, Freeside is more than just a billing system, it is a BSS (billing support system). Freeside is an open-source billing, CRM, trouble ticketing and provisioning automation software for wired and wireless ISPs, VoIP, hosting, service and content providers and other online businesses.
BTW, the preferred database for Freeside is Postgres, according to Bowen.
Bowen says that Freeside will integrate with Asterisk, Taqua and some other switches. Freeswitch integration is being explored.
The big piece for VoIP and CLEC customers is the taxing issue. With over 9000 rate centers and local, county, state and federal taxes and fees (real fees not carrier initiated cost recovery fees I call profit), Bowen suggests that carriers buy the tax info from CCH or other company, then incorporate that tax data into the billing system.
One reason for the C-Level change, in my opinion, is that it's time for Freeside to stop worrying about the tech and go sell something. Consulting is hard to scale because it is trading hours for dollars - you eventually run out of hours in the week, which maxes out your revenue. On that path, Freeside is looking for VAR's and Integrators to help each other grow. The Integrators get another product line; Freeside gets a sales force and more sales.
Good luck, Peter!
Here's the video Peter Bowen did with TMC's Erik Linask