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Telecom Impact on Per-Capita GDP

My presentation at VON was focused on availability (aka presence) and contextually-aware communications, but I did begin with a brief mention of subjects I'm passionate about and I ended with my typical closing comments about telecommunications... Apparently this struck a chord with several people who came up to me afterwards asking about how they could help the spread of telecom to developing countries and did I have references for my statements about telecom is good for mankind? more

Freedom to Connect

Over the last ten years, Andrew Odlyzko has been writing about a pricing algorithm that would assure reasonable service levels at reasonable prices. If you're going to F2C, you might want to read that brief article or this slightly more complex one to learn (or refresh your sense of) PMP -- Paris Metro Pricing models to deal with network congestion. You'll also get a sense of why throwing bandwidth at the network will not be sufficient. Here's a great article from 1995... more

What If They Simply Made Communications Technology Better?

Rob Hyndman has a pointer to Mark Cuban's latest: Think the Internet Will Replace TV? Think Again. Cuban's post can be summarized as: Today's broadband networks are too slow. The insatiable appetite for on-demand rich media content will soon overwhelm them. Telco's aren't putting in upgraded networks quickly enough to meet that demand. Cuban also provides some facts and figures to back up that claim. In the comments, readers have a number of viewpoints, including the view that Mark has ignored cable, and that cable can provide the required speeds and feeds... more

Skype: When Good Press Releases Go Bad

Burton Group issued a press release last week announcing the conclusions of my recent report on Skype. I thought the release clearly stated our conclusions on Skype, which essentially were that there are indeed security and management concerns that enterprises ought to be aware of, but that those risks may be outweighed by the business benefits offered by the use of the application, and that enterprises must carefully weigh risk vs. reward when evaluating Skype usage. more

Give Us TVoIP, Not IPTV

A buzzword in the cable/ilec world is IPTV, a plan to deliver TV over IP. Microsoft and several other companies have built IPTV offerings, to give phone and cable companies what they like to call a "triple play" (voice, video and data) and be the one-stop communications company. ...I'm at the pulver.com Von conference where people are pushing this, notably the BellSouth exec who just spoke. But they've got it wrong. We don't need IPTV. We want TVoIP or perhaps more accurately Vid-o-IP. more

Communications Policy for 2006 and Beyond: VoIP as a Case in Point

In this article, published in the Federal Communications Law Journal (FCLJ), the authors (Reed E. Hundt and Gregory L. Rosston) have proposed sweeping changes to the current telecommunications regulatory regime. With impending reform in telecommunications laws, the authors argue that an important first step is the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to examine and recommend implementation of more market-oriented communications policy. The following excerpt from the article looks into service competition with respect to VoIP... more

Today's Carrier Networks as Trollways?

As I keep pointing out -- there is indeed a viable alternative of a real marketplace not a fake one. Today's system is a fake because it depends on capturing the value of the application - communications - in the transport and that is no longer possible because with the Internet the value is created OUTSIDE the network. One example of the collateral damage caused by today's approach is the utter lack of simple wireless connectivity. Another is that we have redundant capital intensive bit paths whose only purpose is to contain bits within billing paths. more

Is Comcast Impairing Vonage?

On the one hand, the big telcos are chanting the mantram, "We shall not block, impair or degrade any content, service or application." On the other hand, they're saying, "There's no problem. We don't need a law until there's a problem." Well, now. Mitch Shapiro over at IP & Democracy, points to Russell Shaw's post that says: "I have been noticing a growing number of posts in which many Vonage users and Vonage Forum Members have been complaining about the quality of Vonage calls over Comcast broadband connections..." more

Old New Telco Thinking

Ahh, so the telecom incumbents have come up with a "new" idea for the Internet -- usage-based pricing. That's right, more usage (for things like VOIP and video especially) means more costs to operate the network, so users should pay by the bit, or some similar metric. It's all so logical! But wait a minute. I thought what sparked the consumer Internet revolution was the fact that ISPs didn't charge by the minute, but offered flat-rate monthly fees. And what catalyzed the boom in cellular usage here in the US was the shift from heavily usage-based pricing to the largely flat rates we see today... more

Examining the Reality of Convergence

If there is one word in the telecommunications that has suffered from over-abuse for many years now, it's convergence. The term has been liberally applied to each successive generation of communications technology for their supposed ability to solve a myriad of service delivery problems within a single unifying converged carriage and service delivery solution. Unfortunately, the underlying reality has always been markedly different from these wondrous promises, and we continue to see an industry that deploys a plethora of service delivery platforms and an equally diverse collection of associated switching and service delivery technologies. One can't help but wonder at the collective gullibility of an industry that continues to herald the convergent attributes of each new generation of communications technology, while at the same time being forced to admit that previous convergent promises have never been realized. more