VoIP

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Skype's End User License Agreement

I was looking at the End User License Agreement to which Skype wants people to assent. I noticed the following odd provision (Section 3.2.4): You hereby grant to Skype a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable licence to Use the Content in any media in connection with the Skype Software, the Products and the Skype Website. more

HD Voice Really is Great

Listen for half a minute to a demo of a high-bit-rate codec and you expect they will transform our industry. The difference is like a CD with great headphones versus a little transistor radio. Suddenly, you realize just how awful the sound is on your regular telephone. Who wouldn't want their call to sound dramatically better was my first reaction. When Thomson and some of the cable folks discussed plans, I was enthusiastic. Years later, nearly no one is taking advantage... more

Exploring the Roots of Wireless Spectrum Controversy (eComm Panel)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the The Emerging Communications (eComm) 2009 conference in San Francisco which was packed with 3 days of fascinating conversations about the future of communications. I absolutely enjoyed talking to various speakers and attendees giving me a deep level of appreciation and perspective on technical, commercial and political issues at hand -- and what is likely to come in the next few years. And speaking of politics, Lee Dryburgh, who founded eComm in early 2008, has generously allowed us to share with you a fascinating panel discussion which took place on day 3 of the conference called "Spectrum 2.0 - What's really happening?" more

India to Block Close to 39 Foreign VoIP Service Providers

The Hindu Business Line reports that the Department of Telecom (DoT) in India has issued orders to block Internet telephony services being offered by around 39 foreign firms in the country. All the Internet Service Providers have been asked to block these websites since Indian laws permit only licensed operators to offer Net telephony services. Service providers blacklisted include voiptalk.org, sipgate.co.uk, voiplus.net, and deltathree.com more

Will Martin Geddes and Telco 2.0 Turn Around BT?

British Telecom (BT) is hurting because the wireline phone business is inevitably declining. Their new hire is one of the world's most interesting thinkers on possible new businesses for telcos. Martin has been part of the Telco 2.0 group at STL Consultancy, the best small group of European analysts... more

Ten Telecom Tsunamis

The telecom industry five years from now will be unrecognizable. The creative destruction of the Internet broadly writ will be even greater than it has been in the last decade. The major telcos, the major television networks, and the major cablecos -- if they still exist at all -- will have very different revenue models than they have today. That's the good scenario... more

2008: The Year That VoIP Died

It seems highly likely to me that at some point in the future we'll all look back and say that 2008 was the year that the VoIP industry finally died... Voice over IP is just a transport and signalling technology. It's plumbing. It may come as a surprise to some of you to know that in the late 1980's and early 1990's there was a TCP/IP industry as well. TCP/IP is inarguably plumbing. As the IP stack became common on all computing devices, TCP/IP went from being a differentiator to a commodity. more

Lawrence Lessig: FCC Beyond Repair, Should be Abolished

Lawrence Lessig has proposed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is corrupt beyond repair and that "President Obama should get Congress to shut down the FCC and similar vestigial regulators, which put stability and special interests above the public good." In a Newsweek exclusive opinion piece, Lessig urges that failure to "demolish regulators" charged with overseeing the nations digital pipelines will stifle the Skypes and YourTubes of the future. "In their place, Congress should create something we could call the Innovation Environment Protection Agency (iEPA), charged with a simple founding mission: 'minimal intervention to maximize innovation.' The iEPA's core purpose would be to protect innovation from its two historical enemies-excessive government favors, and excessive private monopoly power." 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

Do the IM Protocol Wars Even Matter?

Do you care any more about zillion different IM services? Do you care about the IM protocol wars that have plagued the usage of IM for the last years? Odds are that if you are an IM user like me, you probably don't. Why not? Simple... we've unified the IM services on the client side and basically stopped caring about the various services and protocols. I was reminded of this fact this morning when I received a message saying that an update was available for Adium on my Mac that solved a really annoying disconnection problem with Yahoo!Messenger. more

Hunting Unicorns: Myths and Realities of the Net Neutrality Debate

In many ways, the emotionally charged debate on Network Neutrality (NN) has been a lot like hunting Unicorns. While hunting the mythical horse could be filled with adrenalin, emotion, and likely be quite entertaining, the prize would ultimately prove to be elusive. As a myth, entertaining; but when myths become reality, then all bets are off. The Network Neutrality public and private debate has been filled with more emotion than rational discussion, and in its wake a number of myths have become accepted as reality. Unfortunately, public policy, consumer broadband services, and service provider business survival hang in the balance. more

FCC's Comcast Ruling Inconsistent and Incoherent

After voting on the Comcast order today, Kevin Martin and his Democratic Party colleagues issued press releases telling us how they saved the Internet from Comcast's discriminatory practices, but they've failed to release the actual order they adopted and subsequently re-wrote. Commissioner McDowell wasn't allowed to see the revised order until 7:00 PM the night before the meeting. Rumor has it that high-level spin doctors are still trying to remove all the rough edges, inconsistencies, and factual errors. more

Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

Here's my opening remarks from Media Access Project's Innovation '08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case. Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi... I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain. more

Canadians Aren't Buying Into Net Neutrality

The Tyee, an independent on-line magazine based in BC wrote a story about net neutrality more than a year ago, noting that most Canadians are sleeping through the debate. They followed up again last week. Despite what is called a "perfect storm of events that may crystallize the issue for consumers, businesses, politicians, and regulators," there hasn't been an overwhelming outcry, despite extensive press coverage of the most recent network activities. There are a number of voices who present a conspiracy theory on traffic shaping in Canada... more

Managing Internet as a Shared Resource: Reasonable Technical Constraints?

The internet is a shared resource. Different access providers begin mixing traffic at different places, but sooner or later, my internet gets mixed into yours. The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) application to the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) seems to acknowledge this shared nature with its reference (at paragraph 50 of its application) to the description of the Gateway Access Service its members resell, a description complete with a graphic of a cloud -- a sign that the resource is being shared... more