VoIP, VoIP Everywhere
from the can't-avoid-it dept
Okay, VoIP is officially the hot topic of the season. You can’t go anywhere without seeing a story about deals and/or regulation concerning VoIP. Just days after Time Warner made deals with Sprint and MCI to provide internet telephony to customers, AT&T came along and announced major VoIP plans themselves. (Update: Also just announced: Qwest is offering VoIP as well.) Everyone seems to forget, of course, that BellSouth actually tried to offer VoIP for about a week a year ago and suddenly someone higher up freaked out and pulled the plug. While the big telcos claim they’re jumping on the VoIP bandwagon, there’s still going to be an internal struggle of cash cow vs. emerging technology. I’m not convinced that the telcos are prepared to cannibalize their own business yet. Meanwhile, a lot of what will happen still depends on what the folks at the FCC decide to do about VoIP. Jeff Pulver has written up his concerns about the FCC’s plans over at News.com. The piece is based on Reed Hundt’s talk at Pulver’s Wireless Summit. However, reading through it, it sounds as though it was written before the FCC’s hearing on VoIP where it was made clear that Michael Powell would prefer not to regulate VoIP. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but the battlefield is becoming clearer. The upstarts continue to build marketshare (and lower prices – Vonage is now offering deals as low as $15/month), the telcos are waking up to the challenge, and the government is trying to figure out what to do about it. Who knows how it will all turn out – but it looks like we’re going to have a lot more telephony choices in the near future.