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Vonage I'd like to jump in on this topic: I agree with that for the most part. But.... I



I'd like to jump in on this topic:



I agree with that for the most part. But....



I agree again. Both statement are true up to this point. But...



True again, but finally, the gotcha - this industry is not that simple. This isn't some startup technology growing on its own foundation. By virtue of the technology involved, it piggybacks upon other technologies already heavily regulated. I too agree that government regulation guarantees nothing, except perhaps higher fees. But I also think that if Vonage was actually providing the quality of service that they are so heavily advertising then we would not be having this debate. It's hard to make a point when the whole conversation is theoretical, so, sticking to the "make a case for regulation" topic, here are my concerns and talking points:

1) Vonage customer service is absolutely awful, which wouldn't matter to me at all if there were no problems, but clearly there are. And I would give Vonage more slack if I saw that the company was just having a little growing pain, but to me, it looks like Vonage is recklessly growing itself at a ridiculous rate, with massive advertising expenditures and clearly not enough spent on managing its own infrastructure, so I'm a bit pissed off, because the company is not growing itself responsibly and taking care of ME - the ONLY person in the universe that matters as a paying customer. I'm worried that some dotcom CEO with a thee year exit strategy is going to grow Vonage right out of existence.

2) Vonage service quality is not as good as advertised. It fails enough that I am bothered by it, and feel slightly cheated. I love it, but I'm starting to hate it. They advertise a specific degree of quality and services, and they tell me what it will cost. I sent them the check and held up my end of the deal. Now they need to hold up their end. If I wanted to just "go back to POTS" as several have cynically repeated in this thread, even that would cost me an extra $40. So, what? I go back to POTS for an additional $40 because Vonage isn't keeping up their end of an existing agreement? I think not, dudes. As a customer, these are problems that need to be resolved, and I'm going to hammer Vonage as much as I can to sort these issues out, but hey...if I can't even get them on the phone, what's a guy to do? I have to call somebody else - a consumer complaint forum, a congressman, whatever it takes.

3) Perhaps a lot of these problems are just inherent in the technology, and not actually Vonage's fault (aside from the customer service issues that are entirely Vonage's fault). If so, then that is a solid argument for regulation, because it means an otherwise good idea and viable business can't be as reliable and useful as people wish it to be unless everyone can agree to make it reliable and useful. If you're a Vonage evangelist, and you just want the cheapest service possible, wouldn't you agree that it would suck if the company was unfairly harmed by its competitors? And this isn't some new game, with a level playing field. Vonage and others aren't just competing against other little startup Voip companies. There's some 800lb gorillas out there (AT&T, SBC, etc) who are the giant and ancient relics of Ma Bell, and we all know they will stop at nothing to crush the little guys and drive up prices and retain absolute control of their networks. Only govt regulation can reliably prevent anti-competitive tactics in the telecommunications industry.

4) What if Vonage were to go out of business? Would our numbers just vaporize into thin air? If word of mouth about poor service spreads, on top of the fierce competition, it could easily kill a young company. Isn't the whole thing basically just a big router sitting in a warehouse somewhere? Yeah, I know, there's backups, it's a bit more complicated than that, but still...these Vonage phone numbers, as demonstrated by the outage, can just wink out of existence at a moments notice and suddenly POTS people are getting a recording that my number doesn't exist. That's absolutely unacceptable. Period. To me, this outage issue is serious enough to warrant regulation, because this is about telecommunications, and if you just shut off the phones for thousands of people, the damage is vast. The service provider has to be motivated to prevent this at all costs, and I think, again being a person almost wholly opposed to govt intervention in anything, that nothing short of government regulation will provide the protections consumers need. The free market could sort it out, but it would be a hell of a lot of unnecessary pain for the consumer. I mean, we aren't talking about Federalizing Voip, like Hilary's healthcare plan in 1993. We're just talking about some rules and regulations to keep it sane.

Flame away...or make an intelligent point. Whichever. :-)



Read The Full Thread:

Today''s outage - a case for regulation


Folks, if Vonage were actually a LEC, this outage would result in HUGE FCC penalties. As-is,
I think you are going to get flamed big time. :wink: No, seriously, the only
regulating them prob isnt the answer now, BUT making sure everyone who does have
They're accountable to their clients. If you aren't happy with their service,
They're accountable to their clients. If you aren't happy with their service,
Folks, if Vonage were actually a LEC, this outage would result in HUGE FCC penalties. As-is,
They're accountable to their clients. If you aren't happy with their service,
Short of having a contract which specifically spells out availability you are
If you pay me to provide a service to you, and I don't come through, are you just going
Of course, comments like this don't help: emphasis mine On another

bry2k posted "I'd like to jump in on this topic: I agree with that for the most part. But.... I" on 03/07/2005

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