Jack Decker note: Lately the press has been spreading a lot of FUD
(fear, uncertainty, doubt) about VoIP. I have heard that some phone
companies have been known to spend more advertising dollars with
publishers and broadcasters that run stories favorable to them, and
negative toward any perceived competition. I'm not saying there's any
such quid pro quo in the case of this specific story, just that the
increase in negative stories about VoIP in the press has me wondering.
The Pitfalls of VoIP
by Kim Komando - 11/22/2004
Using your computer and Internet connection to make local and long
distance calls has been getting a lot of attention lately. People are
enticed by the savings offered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
and the ability to use a regular telephone. Before you jump on the
bandwagon, consider the drawbacks.
Most VoIP providers charge a monthly fee of $20 to $30 for unlimited
local and long distance calling anywhere in the U.S., and sometimes
Canada. You also receive a host of features that would normally cost
extra, such as call forwarding, voice mail, caller ID and call
There are enhanced features, too. Many providers will forward your
voice mail to an e-mail account. There is a super version of
call-forwarding that forwards calls to five or so different phones. It
will ring them one at a time or all five simultaneously.
Although VoIP is still in its infancy, there are a number of companies
providing service, such as AT&T,
(http://www.packet8.net/), VoicePulse (http://www.voicepulse.com/) and
Vonage (http://www.vonage.com/). The quality is better than a cell
phone and often matches traditional phone service. But there is a
potential for dropouts similar to a cell phone.
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 11:36:26 -0500
From: Lisa Minter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: SBC Seeks to Levy Higher Fees On Internet Phone Companies
Organization: TELECOM Digest
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 23, Issue 558, Message 12 of 12
Plan Aims to Raise Charges On Local-Network Calls; Bell to Tap Web
By ANNE MARIE SQUEO
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Even as SBC Communications Inc. announced the broad rollout of its
Internet-based phone service, the telecom giant appears to be
attempting a regulatory maneuver that would let it levy higher fees on
rival Internet phone companies.
SBC plans to file a new tariff with the Federal Communications
Commission that potentially increases the fees paid by Internet
service providers for calls completed on the company's local-phone
network. While Internet calls largely avoid the traditional
public-telephone network, they do connect to it when the recipient of
the call isn't an Internet phone user. The tariff would go into effect
immediately, and according to an earlier SBC filing, the company plans
to have it in place as soon as tomorrow.
The move could mark the first time a regional Bell phone giant has
tried to assess higher fees -- traditionally levied on long-distance
phone calls -- on Internet phone technologies.
The situation has caught the attention of FCC Chairman Michael Powell,
a staunch proponent of keeping the emerging Internet phone market free
from heavy regulation. Senior FCC officials said Mr. Powell is
concerned about the impact of SBC's plans and believes the proposal
"may need substantial modifications."
Full story at: