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Vonage In The News
Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

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Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review
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Jobs At Risk If CRTC Regulates VoIP


Vonage In Print News

Jobs At Risk If CRTC Regulates VoIP, Hearing Told

September 21, 2004

By Simon Tuck

Gatineau, Que. — Canada will face a loss of jobs and investment if it attempts to regulate Internet-based telephony services, one of the industry's U.S.-based startups warned the federal regulator Tuesday as it kicked off a review that could largely shape the future of Canada's telephone services industry.

Brooke Schulz, vice-president of corporate communications for Edison, N.J.-based Vonage Holdings Corp., told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that geography and borders are irrelevant when it comes to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services.

They can be launched to any market in the world from anywhere, she told the regulators at a hearing in Gatineau, Que., while consumers can use Voip telephone services from anywhere they have access to the Internet.

“I think we're in a new place that requires new thinking,” said Ms. Schulz, whose company is one of a horde of startups challenging the incumbents with aggressive pricing strategies.

Industry analysts have also questioned whether the commission — or any other regulator — is even capable of regulating Voip and other Internet-based services.

Vonage represents one of three major camps that launched their opening salvos Tuesday at the CRTC hearings into the possible regulation of on-line telephony. The three camps — large incumbent telephone companies, large cable companies, and startups — are trying to make the most of their limited opportunities to convince the CRTC what it should do about the fledgling Voip industry.

The incumbent telcos, to varying degrees, and many of the startups believe the commission should let the market rule. If it is tightly controlled, they argue, Canadian consumers won't enjoy the full benefits and choice offered by the new Internet-based technology, while investors and jobs will go elsewhere.

“This is not telecom as usual — and that's good,” said Lawson Hunter, executive vice-president of regulatory affairs at BCE Inc., corporate parent of Bell Canada. “The Voip world is one of richer services and virtually unlimited choice as entry barriers truly disappear.”
While taking the occasional verbal shot at the telcos and the cable guys, many of the startups made similar arguments in favour of an open market.

But Comwave Telecom Inc., a Toronto-based startup, told the CRTC that the commission's preliminary view that Voip services should be regulated like other types of telephony is correct. The industry needs more time and additional regulatory “safeguards” to best foster competition and innovation, Comwave officials said.

The largest battle and the fiercest war of words is poised to take place between the two behemoths — the telcos and the cable operators — as they prepare to battle for control over a converging telecommunications industry. Each says the other has unique advantages that pose a threat to competition, innovation and consumer choice.

The Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA), which won't appear before the commission until Thursday, is expected to tell the CRTC that more competition is needed — but not yet.

“There are two things that could undermine emerging competition,” CCTA president Michael Hennessy is quoted as saying in a press release. “The first would be to overregulate new entrants and the second would be to deregulate the monopoly before competition can occur.” Mr. Hennessy's comments are contained in an association press release prepared in conjunction with his scheduled appearance before the commission tomorrow.

The cable companies, many of which are planning to make hefty investments in the lucrative phone services industry, say rapid deregulation would allow the phone companies to use their existing dominance to take over the emerging Voip market before other potential challengers are given a fair chance.

Industry officials said the opening day of hearings clarified the dilemma for the CRTC, a public body created more than three decades ago in a much simpler telecommunications environment: Should the commission regulate on-line phone services as it does those that operate over regular, copper lines, or should it simply view those new services as Internet applications and let the market rule?



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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