Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Are ISP's blocking VoIP?

As much as I like unregulated services so that consumers can drive competitors, here's one good reason to have a regulatory agency. According to Advanced IP Pipeline, Vonage has confirmed that at least one rural LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) is blocking their Voice over Internet Protocol phone service:

"Vonage Holdings confirmed Monday that it has complained to the Federal Communications Commission about "an instance of portblocking of our service," according to a company spokesperson. After initially saying Monday morning that it would not comment on the report of its complaint, Vonage vice president for corporate communications Brooke Schulz sent an email Monday evening with the following response:

"We met with the FCC to discuss an instance of portblocking of our service by a high-speed Internet provider. We sought the FCC's counsel on how to proceed with this issue. There has been no formal complaint filed, nor have we had any subsequent discussions with the FCC regarding the details as we understand they plan to look into the matter."

I hope that the FCC looks into this alleged service blocking and quickly takes action to prevent it. More importantly, I'm concerned for VoIP users; both current and future. This type of simple service blocking would be a serious issue if (as the trend suggests) we all go to VoIP as opposed to POTS service. Sounds like it wouldn't take much for any disreputable hackers or others to seriously disrupt the phone network.....hmmm....this has me second guessing the early adoption of VoIP at home. :(

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