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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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Vonage Claims Price 'Blocking' Of VoIP


Vonage In Print News

Vonage Claims Price 'Blocking' Of Voip

August 22, 2005

By Paul Kapustka

Vonage Holdings, the poster child in the debate about how open Internet services need to be, claimed Monday that an unnamed service provider was forcing its broadband customers to pay a premium to use Vonage’s Voice over IP services.

While it wasn’t a case of outright “blocking” of Voip like the company has previously experienced, Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron used the example of the extra-fee-for-VoIP incident as part of his argument in favor of a “broadband bill of rights,” that would put into law the type of service a user of broadband services could expect.

“Those who say there’s not a network neutrality problem need to take their head out of the sand,” said Citron, speaking on a panel at the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Aspen Summit conference here. While the FCC was able to bring judgement against a firm that previously tried to block Vonage services, Citron said that right now “there is no law that prohibits [blocking], so you can’t adjucate against it.”

While Citron hedged on naming the offending service provider, Brooke Schulz, Vonage’s vice president of communications, said the incidents have been occuring with customers who get broadband from a cable TV company. The provider, Schulz said, detects that its customers are using Vonage, and then moves its customers to a higher-cost broadband service (one with a static IP address), claiming it needs to do so to be compliant with federal law-enforcement regulations. According to Schulz, Vonage’s services do not require such technical enhancements.

The question of whether or not Congress or the FCC needs to write laws or regulations specifically deciding the parameters of network neutrality was at the center of Monday’s panel discussion, which also included executives from Verizon, SBC and the cable industry. While Citron was clearly in favor of some law providing a basic level of service rights, the large-company providers all advised caution against setting such regulations in hard law, only to have them quickly obsoleted by technology’s advancements.

“I think we’re all in agreement on the [neutrality] principles,” said Forrest Miller, group president at SBC. “But should we cut them into stone? I’m not sure.” Miller said that laws about net neutrality arguments -- which call for free access to any legal information or applications on the Internet, among other ideas -- could be used to force SBC and other facility-based providers to become the bankrollers for infrastructure that competitors could use for free.

“How can I justify a $4 billion investment in [Project] Lightspeed if it’s a commons?” Miller asked. “If Jeff [Citron] wants a better part of the pipe, he’s welcome to pay for it.”

Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunciations Association, said customers wouldn’t stand for content-blocking actions, and as such could help the market regulate itself. “I’m just very leery of anything that gets into the space where the rules of the road could be used as leverage by competitors,” he said.

Peter Davidson, Verizon’s senior vice president for government relations, said “Verizon supports the [neutrality] principles,” but said the company was opposed to “anticipatory regulations” and would instead prefer actions or regulations that would address problems after they happened, like in the Madison River case. “With Madison River, the system seemed to work pretty quickly,” Davidson said.

But Citron noted that recent FCC decisions to deregulate DSL gives regulators fewer options to move against potential offenders. Without laws in place, Citron asked, “who would be able to step in before massive damage is done?”



 
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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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