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Salt Lake City: impressions after several months
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Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!
Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!



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Great Price, No Complaints



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You need some common sense.



Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...
Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...




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CompTel Urges FCC For Stronger VoIP Port Blocking Laws


Vonage In Print News

CompTel/ALTS Demands Stronger Port-Blocking Action

July 7, 2005

By Staff

The CompTel/ALTS trade group, representing competitive communications service providers, has urged the FCC to take a stronger, formal stand and a clearer position prohibiting incumbent network owners from blocking rival Voip offerings and other emerging services. In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin on so-called "port blocking," the group recommended that the federal regulators "act swiftly and decisively to preserve unfettered consumer access to innovative Internet technologies."

CompTel/ALTS says its FCC move was drafted partly in reaction to last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Brand X Internet Services case, which upheld the commission's classifying cable-TV communications offerings as lightly regulated information services, thus exacerbating network-access concerns (TelecomWeb, June 28). At the same time, the group echoes warnings about port-blocking that were highlighted in March by a discretionary FCC consent-decree enforcement action against incumbent telco Madison River Communications LLC for alleged port-blocking of Vonage Holdings VoIP-oriented packet traffic.

"Specifically, I urge you to set a clear policy prohibiting network owners from port blocking, or otherwise interfering with the transmission capabilities, of service providers offering Voip services and other competitive alternatives," Earl W. Comstock, CompTel/ALTS president and CEO, wrote to Martin. "Such immediate action is crucial in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in the Brand X case."

Comstock suggests the FCC/Madison River matter sent a correct signal that common carriers could not engage in the port-blocking of Voip service providers, but "stronger and clearer action is needed in the aftermath of the Brand X decision." He expressed concern that, although the high court reaffirmed cable-modem services are not subject to common- carriage regulation, the justices also made no determination on whether the FCC should apply interconnection obligations on cable modem-based or DSL-based information services.

"In so doing, the court did not reach the issue of port-blocking or other interferences with Voip service providers' abilities to offer their services over cable facilities or the facilities of incumbent local exchange carriers without degradation of their bit streams," wrote Comstock. "These important consumer-protection and competition-policy questions are currently at issue in several open proceedings before the commission."

He maintained opponents of Voip market competition may try to argue that a lack of commission authority over cable-modem services allows cable network owners, or any network owner offering broadband services, to port-block or otherwise interfere with Voip service providers' voice bits, particularly if "anti-competition-minded network owners" fear the rivals. As the market share of entrepreneurial Voip companies grows, the likelihood of such illegal blocking activity is likely to increase as well, due to the "threat" of competition brought by new Voip companies, according to Comstock.

"Accordingly, if the commission is serious about creating a regulatory environment that fosters entrepreneurialism in the advanced services market, it should unambiguously declare that all owners of public networks are prohibited from blocking, or otherwise interfering with, the data streams of entrepreneurs offering not only VoIP, but other advanced services as well," he concluded. "If the commission fails to seize this opportunity to bring pro-entrepreneur regulatory certainty to the market place, it will give an incentive to incumbent network owners to exclude not only Voip service providers from being able to transmit over their networks, but possibly all forms of data communications that may pose a competitive threat to those same incumbents as well."



 
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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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