ISPs "Price Block" VoIP Providers

from the that-costs-extra dept

It’s no secret that plenty of ISPs would love to block VoIP traffic on their networks, particularly cable and DSL providers with their own VoIP services. While the FCC fined one small ISP for blocking Vonage, it didn’t seem to mind when wireless ISP Clearwire started blocking ports, though Vonage showed how such efforts are futile by working with users to evade the blocks. Now, Vonage’s CEO alleges one unnamed cable company is “price blocking” Vonage users on its network by moving them to a higher-cost service with a static IP address, saying the move is necessary to meet federal law enforcement rules. Vonage says that’s bunk, and it sounds pretty fishy. The story also quotes an SBC exec essentially saying that since he’s paying to build a new high-speed network, he should be able to decide what users can do with it, pretty much undermining any expectation that broadband providers will have network neutrality now that voice is just another form of data. Other cable providers and telcos are trying to pre-empt neutrality by saying they’re unnecessary, because they “promise” not to block anything — even though it appears to already be happening. Don’t expect much help from the FCC in its current mood, either.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “ISPs "Price Block" VoIP Providers”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Mousky (user link) says:

What am I paying for?

Many ISPs utilize deep packet inspection technology to analyze all traffic on a network, identify it and assign a level of priority to the packet. So if you are using Kaaza, a competitors VoIP or BitTorrent, your data may not be transferred and/or received as quickly as you have been lead to believe. This begs the question: what exactly are broadband users paying for?

Michael Meiser (user link) says:

non-network neutrality is bunk

Isn’t going against network neutrality a double edge sword. If ISP’s start blocking VOIP and taking liberties with what sort of traffic they allow on their betworks then doesn’t that come back to bite them in the ass when it comes to filesharing and other liabilities?
In other words if they can tailor the network to block certain things they don’t want, doesn’t that make them liable when others like the RIAA, MPAA or whomever wants them to take responsibility for other activities on their network, especially things that don’t just threaten their monopoly and fat profit margins over their networks, but things that are actually illegal activities. This could go beyond copyright “theft” too… to liability for child pornography rings and all manner of cyber crimes. These ISP’s can’t even handle freaking spam, but they think they can arbitrarily turn network features at their discretion. They’re assinine, stupid, and just going to end up pissing a lot of people off.
This is the same ridiculous thing about VOIP “wiretapping” legislation. Such legislation will just chase innovation out of the sector and it will go someplace else. It’s just shooting off half cocked at any target large enough to penalize. There’s no way to “legislate” that sort of crap into open source VOIP tools. Even if some government had the authority to legislate something like that worldwide it’d still be impossible. It’s freaking absurd. Absurd like DRM (digital rights management) absurd.
I still can’t get people to understand DRM, but I don’t have to, I just have to say, well, you pay Real a monthly fee to rent your entire music library for life, you never own it, you can’t play it on the majority of mp3 players, computers and other devices, and the second you stop paying them it’s all useless. It may be hard to explain DRM, but anyone no matter how technical know it’s complete bunk. You simply can’t name a single DRM scheme that doesn’t have such tremendous shortcomings, because it’s inherently bunk. DRM = crap.
I have friends on windows who are are technological neophytes and they still know buy music from the apple store simply to rip it to an mp3 with one of various tools for stripping the Apple so they can listen to it on their non-apple mp3 player. They don’t even know DRM is, and as for the apple “solution”, that’s a myth to, the solution is buying from apple and ripping to an mp3, not apples DRM. Apple’s DRM is a myth it sells to the record labels, that’s all it is, a myth. I’d love to see numbers on how much of apple purchased music ends up being stripped of it’s DRM. Trusting people and uniquely identifying content with watermarks so it can be tracked in real crime in the same way you’d track counterfit money is a much better solution than trying to throw magical lasso’s around every item. Imagine money that would only work at one bank and whatever affilated stores it worked with. That’s the DRM proposal for stopping theft and conterfieting. Isn’t it much easier to make the content more unique and harder to replicate. Instead of putting absolute crap on really cheap plastic discs, perhaps they should be focused on creating multi-track format’s with 8 channels of surround that can contain detailed eq settings which can be read and used by your stereo or computer to optimize the sound for your setup. The problem is that plastic CD’s are to music what a clay freaking coin is to money. Music formats to day and particularly the CD are such crap and so out of date they’re like plastic money.
Ask yourself what’s more logical, that in ten years all music and audio content will have magic lasso DRM on it that will be perfectly codified law and know precisely how music or media can be used in every possible situation that is fully supported by every piece of hardware in the world… or that there will be a rich proliferation of smarter, richer media that’s less easily copyable and will drive consumer and innovators to create wicked and cool new appliances and electronics.
I feel like were the pied pipper of trademark who through up his hands at the turn of the century and said “everything has been invented”.
“Everything that can be done with music has been done, it was all perfected with the plastic CD and can evolve no further.”
Heh music industry, heh movie industry, we’ve not scratched the surface of innovation, stop trying to lock everything down in a land grab and pull your heads out of your arses and start innovating your way out of this… there’s a world so big for innovation and growth in the IP industry it’s unimagineable, why am I the only one that sees that once we get over the crappy CD and DVD format locking of today that there are infinite possibilites for richer content experiences.
DRM is bunk. Non-network neutrality is bunk. To me these issues are one in the same. Information doesn’t want to to be free. Information and ideas are free. Execution of the idea, fidelity and all things that shape the experience of IP, and how we discover and share IP are where the money’s at. It’s not the words and ideas that are important it’s how you use them. Give me the thinkers who came up with the ideas, the ideas themselves are useless without the people who thought them. The same goes for music and all forms of IP. It’s time we stopped rewarding ownership and started rewarding the innovators. The owners of media and the creators of media have become significantly disembodied enough that we can now see the truth. What is more important, the artist or the painting, the CD or the concert, the patent or the person who created the patent. Disembodied media ownership will lose because it absolutely must, otherwise who will create tomorrows great works.
Hot damn, I love it when a good rant comes together. You just never know. I’m leaving this here in it’s raw form because this post and your napster apple post inspired it:
Hopefully someone will find it useful in some small way.
BTW, Bunk is my favorite word of the day apparently.
Peace, -Mike of

anonymous says:

I have been using tringotel business line for the past few months. No major complaints about call quality.

Lots of great features and very easy to customize. But, there is no way to set up multiple voicemail boxes. This is unfortunate because I have a partner. You can use an answering machine with multiple boxes instead, but all of the great Voip voicemail features (including. .wav messages to email) are lost. Lingo and vonage might have the same weakness.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...