North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Vonage Hits ISP Resistance

  • From: Bill Nash
  • Date: Thu Mar 31 13:33:38 2005

On Thu, 31 Mar 2005, Steve Sobol wrote:

Bill Nash <[email protected]> wrote:
I have no idea what my cable company pays for their bandwidth, but I am
certain it's more than the $40 per month I pay for my 3Mbps down/256 Mbps
up... and I am able to actually *get* 3Mbps on many occasions, and I average
between 1 and 2 (on HTTP/FTP transfers, fwiw).

Yes, I know the connectivity cost is shared between several thousand customers
in this area, but what happens if large numbers of customers start using VOiP
on a regular basis?
Not to be cynical, but if large numbers of customers start using VOIP on a regular basis, I imagine regulation will happen, especially if ISPs keep trying to inhibit consumer choices. Vonage is in the right place at the right time, I think. They're a notable pioneer for consumer VOIP services, and it puts them in a good position to supply meaningful insight into what it takes to make VOIP work for the consumer.

Chances are, if you're a VOIP customer, you're some form of digirati. That means email, IM, and a cell phone. I'm more enamored of my Vonage service for the simultaneous ringing feature than I am of having a home phone. Self-enabled number portability is a huge win for me as well. My actual VOIP traffic use is pretty minimal. As was mentioned in another post, being able to fire up a softphone on my portable hardware, anywhere I can get packets, is pretty much the holy grail of nerd mobility.

I don't think this evolutionary marriage of data and voice is a surprise to anyone, and these conflicts are growing pains. The incumbent telcos see it as a threat, which they should, but my personal view on this is like monkeys trying to fight against walking upright because it violates the existing natural order, nevermind the benefits of opposable thumbs.

There's already too much momentum, and too many options to completely circumvent even the ISPs. Hell, even Cringely gets it.

- billn