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Posts from March 2004

Tipping Point? Not Yet

eWeek claims VoIP is at the tipping point. I say, its not even close.

First, while carriers are making inroads here in the USA, the real action is global. So while the story points out the amount of international traffic, much of that is termination, and likely a lot of that is to India, where the offshoring of coding and customer support seems to be.

For a tipping point to occur will require the PTTs in Europe and Asia to truely open up their markets to new companies like Vonage or even better, AT&T becoming a global VoIP access provider. Legally. While we all know of many ex-pats using Vonage in the UK, Israel, France, etc., that use is not really legal. In South Africa recently, one company has gone to court to block SKYPE's use.

Tipping point occurs when the use is hitting a place where it is growing like tribbles in the famed Star Trek episode. Given this story came from a reporter attending VON or from all the announcements generated it seems the purple Kool Aid must be back on sale in Northern California.

Me. I'm staying on hooked on Ridge Geyserville, vintage 1988, like I drank last night. I know what's in that bottle, and while it has a purple color, it's sure not Kool Aid.

AT&T Stays In the Race

AT&T not wanting to be left behind announced more comapatability and interoperability.

Much of this has already been in their network or on the IP roadmap for a few years. What is so concerning is if they have the ability to do all this now, why wait?

AT&T, which got out of the cable business for the sake of survival, has forsaken wireless, and basically become a "me too" long distance carrier is betting on voice over packet. While their charasmatic leader is an ex wireless marketing maven, who sold their board of directors on a new gameplan, they are sure moving so slow.

The old AT&T is long gone. The rebranding of the company though, has really not yet started. Many people out there remember the once monopoly giant, both in good ways and not so positive lights. AT&T though on the international level still has a lot of cache and needs to be the graceful and respected firm they one were.

Global Crossing Takes on The Enterprise

Global Crossing, which has a Phoenix like rising from the ashes quality has announced their moves and expansion within the category they know best. The enterprise.

Always a Level3 follower type of company, their international termination capabilities, high quality fiber, and an aggressive sales force means companies in the SME space should listen to what they have to say.

Between GC and Level3, this could spell trouble for Sprint and AT&T as pricing and service offerings will be what matters.

This also means companies like RampRate who work to figure out who has the best of what, and what comanies should pay for that, then act as master resellers, are in ideal positions to assist CIO's make informed and educated decisions to avoid the trap of buying from the best name, when now they can buy from the best. Period.

VoiceGlo Gets Retail Partner

VoiceGlo, another player in the VoIP space has made what could be a bright move in going after wireless retailers.

Think about it. Mobile phone users are more likely to want to know about alternatives to landline telephony from the telcos. The big problem is the sales forces at retailers of mobile phone stores. Most don't understand the wired up world.

If VoiceGlo can prove their case and educate, inform and effectively train the wireless retail employees on how to sell, install and support their installation, they have a chance.

Who Makes What

Light Reading released a "Who Makes What" directory. While not a big deal for consumers, the directory is a boon to network professionals thinking of adding voice to their data network as it will enable them to locate the software and hardware they need.

Learning what is good and what is bad, well, that's another story.

Level3 Goes Home

Level3 has announced they want to go home. To your home with their announcement at VON today.

This is no surprise as a few weeks ago they announced services for ISP's and cable company's.

What this means is better infrastructure and many more competitors for Vonage and companies like Packet8 network. It also means that Level3 has found a way to move all of those "managed modem" dial up ports over to VoIP. For those not in the know, as dial up has withered in many major markets, the modem banks, many owned by Level3 simply to service AOL has seen reduced usage. Level3 also had a softswitch project, code named Jaguar, for the past few years, designed to optimize their network and how it worked with peering partners. Lastly, they have for years been working on the IETF's interworking function to be able to convert SIP and h.323 traffic easily, while maintaining quality.

All that back end work and infrastructure has finally been unleashed. Now the questions are, which ISP's will sign up first?

British ITSP's Form Trade Group

In what has to be a first in the UK, the ITSPA, which stands for Internet Telephony Service Providers has been formed.

This is the first step towards seeing standards come from an organization that is not the IEEE or IETF that will impact the sales, growth and marketing of VoIP in the UK and elsewhere.

BT Delivers More With VoIP

British Telecom (BT) has been actively pushing broadband for the past year. Now they are rolling out two VoIP based services at reasonable prices. They have realized that the advanced services market is what will stimulate the growth.

What is so refreshing about this announcement is that just like was done with cell phones, they're not just selling a PSTN replacement, they're selling more. It's the MORE that is the difference, and its what will drive demand.