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Re: potpourri (Re: Clearwire May Block VoIP Competitors )

  • From: Paul Vixie
  • Date: Thu Mar 31 13:50:11 2005 (David Barak) writes:

> anecdote: one of my good friends uses Vonage, and my wife complained to
> me yesterday that she has a very hard time understanding their phone
> conversations anymore.  She correctly identified the change in quality as
> originating from the VoPI.

as long as she's getting what she's paying for, or getting the cost savings
that go along with the drop in quality, and is happy with the savings, then
this isn't a bug.

unfortunately a lot of companies who use voip or other forms of "statistical
overcommit" want to pocket the savings and don't want to disclose the service
limitations.  that gives the whole field an undeserved bad smell.

> Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but your implication seems to be "damn
> the 911, full steam ahead."  That's great for optional voice (calls to
> Panama) but not so good for non-optional voice (to the fire dept).

i'm not especially tolerant of governments telling me how safe i have to be.
if i want a 911-free phone in my house then the most the gov't should be
allowed to require is that i put a warning label on my front door and on
anthing inside my house that looks like a phone.

most american PBX's don't have 911 as a dialplan.  you have to dial 9-911.
this isn't a violation of the law as long as there's a warning label about it.
but go ahead and visit a few large companies and tell me how many such warning
labels you see.  as an added boon, note that campuses with blocks of 1000 DIDs
end up using the corporate headquarters or the address of the PBX as the 911
locator for all 1000 (or 10000 or whatever) extensions, making the fire dept
have to select from among 20 different buildings by looking for smoke plumes.

geez, where's the FCC when you need 'em, huh?

i think the selective enforcement here is sickening, and that if old money
telcos can't compete without asset protection, they should file for chapter
11 rather than muscling newcomer costs up by calling these things "phone" and
then circling their wagons around the NANP.  but that's not going to happen,
so i predict that the internet will do what it always does-- work around the
problem.  so, domain names and personal computers rather than "phone numbers"
and things-that-look-like-phones.

i've got nothing against 911, and i love my local fire dept.  

> > the solution of course is to use computers rather than "phones" and to
> > use domain names rather than "phone numbers".
> fine by me - such a service would never be confused with POTS, and no one
> sensible would treat it as a reliable/robust service.

and when 20% or 50% of the homes in a region lack this service because the
people who live in those homes don't want to pay a POTS tithe, we'll see
some interesting legislation come down, and you can quote me on that.

> > all it has to be is as good as a cell phone.  
> Requirements differ.  To paraphrase Randy, "I encourage my competitors to
> use this voice quality standard."

back at DEC, the company policy was to build the products we thought the
world should be using, and then try to convince the world to use them.
DEC was later bought, in disgrace mind you, by a company whose policy was
to figure out what the world wanted to use, and build it better and cheaper.

if there are people out there who want cell-quality voice, are willing to
live without 911, but want to make multiple calls at once with flat rate
billing, they should be able to choose VoIP (or VoPI, i guess).  however,
the FCC seems to have decided that this would be $bad, which i guess from
the point of view of old money telcos and capital inertia, it indeed is.
Paul Vixie