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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - October 28 - 30, 2005

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

October 28, 2005

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today’s edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest. Today, we'll read about a major consumer electronics retailer and website that will begin carrying Vonage products starting today. We will also learn about an effort underway in the United States Senate to loosen forthcoming FCC rules about E-911 over VoIP. In our popular In The Blogs feature, we'll go over what some of our favorite Voip bloggers have been writing about this week. Finally, on the Vonage Voip Forum, one Vonage Forum Member asks for help with his "hang-ups."

Vonage In The Headlines

Big New Jersey Retail Chain To Offer Vonage Kits

Although Vonage offers the ability to call inexpensively throughout the world, they are a New Jersey-based company. And I happen to know that more than a few of our Vonage Forum Members hail from the Garden State as well.

So you might say it is fitting that starting today, New Jersey-based 6th Avenue Electronics will sell its starter kits in all of its New Jersey retail locations and online at

"The roll out of Vonage's broadband telephony products at 6th Avenue Electronics presents a great opportunity, which will allow us to further develop our retail sales base," said Phil Giordano, vice president of Sales and Business Development for Vonage Marketing. "We are looking forward to a successful sales growth with one of New Jersey's top local electronics retailers."

High speed Internet subscribers can purchase starter kits from 6th Avenue Electronics enabling them to sign up for any of Vonage's residential or SOHO full-featured, flat rate calling plans. Vonage says it will offer 6th Avenue Electronics customers a choice of devices, including voice gateways bundled with routers from Motorola for $60. Fifty dollar rebates are offered after 60 days in service. Other Vonage enabled devices are on the way.

Senate Bill Would Relax "Nomadic VoIP" E-911 Requirement

An FCC requirement that Internet telephone companies such as Vonage provide emergency 911 services would be overruled by a new draft bill authored by Senate Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

The committee draft revises a bill introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. Nelson's measure would require Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, companies to provide location-based -- so-called enhanced -- 911 service.

Unlike the Nelson bill, the new Stevens language relieves "nomadic" Voip providers from the need to comply with a May order by the FCC. The agency had required all Voip Internet telephony providers connecting to traditional telephone wires to provide E-911 service.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the inability of public safety personnel to reroute emergency calls to centers not affected by flooding in the Gulf Coast, the 911 modernization issue led Stevens and Senate Commerce ranking member Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, to reexamine the bill.

Compliance with location-based 911 services currently is mandated by Nov. 28. Some Voip providers (but not Vonage) say that is not feasible.

Under the Stevens draft, Internet telephone companies whose service is "primarily nomadic" will not be required to meet location-based 911 rules if they notify subscribers. Subscribers would have to acknowledge the notice.

The providers do not have to comply if "the provider demonstrates that it is not technically or operationally feasibility" to comply with FCC rules, according to draft legislation circulated Wednesday evening.

Nomadic Voip providers such as Vonage allow customers to move their equipment and use their phone numbers through any broadband connection.

Many of these providers object to the FCC order. Their problem arises because nomadic customers dialing 911 would reach a public safety official in their home region -- not the "off-site" location where they would need assistance.

The FCC said nomadic companies still must comply with E-911, but allowed them to let customers self-specify their address.

Voice on the Net Coalition's Jim Kohlenberger told reporters yesterday it is better to have Voip with 911 service -- but without location information -- than to be denied Voip services because of an E-911 mandate.

In The Blogs

We read about 15 Voip and IP-telephony-related Weblogs. Some we read more than others, but we enjoy most of them. Face it, bloggers are opinion-shapers. So today, as we do each Friday, we are going to give you a round-up of what the blogs we read said about Vonage during that week.

Here's what the Voip bloggers have been writing about:

Om Malik of Om Malik's Broadband Blog doesn't think much of predictions that all Voip calls will be free one day.

Tom Keating of Voip Blog is very much into gizmos, like several Voip handsets that were shown at the IP Telephony conference in Los Angeles this past week.

Jeff Pulver of has a lot to say about efforts to overturn the FCC's rules requiring Vonage and other Voip providers to open up their networks for authorized wiretaps. This issue is obviously a passionate one for Jeff.

Mark Evans of the Mark Evans Blog doesn't make any new posts about Vonage this week, but I recommend that you read some of his posts about a hypothetical sale of Vonage, as well as the more realistic procedure underway to try and make Vonage a publicly traded company.

Russell Shaw of the ZDNet IP Telephony blog explains why some of those numbers that seem to indicate that Vonage is starting to lose market share to competitors are misleading. Russ offers an alternate explanation of what those numbers mean.

Andy Abramson of Voip Watch in his own inimitable style, calls attention to the fact that Vonage has hired lobbyists to speak on the company's behalf in Washington, D.C. In another one of Andy's posts, he seems to think that Vonage is spending too much money on advertising.

Rich Tehrani of Voip Blog makes several posts in which he describes keynote addresses he attended and products he saw at the IP Telephony show in Los Angeles this week. Although he doesn't mention Vonage (who was not at the show) it is interesting reading to see what is going on in the Voip space. Plus, Rich's company TMCnet produces the event.

On Ted Wallingford's The Voip Weblog, Ted writes disagrees with Om Malik, and thinks that all Voip calls will be free one day. Ted also has a post about a large phone company in the U.S. that may be preparing to put in the fine print of their service agreement that if you use their DSL to access VoIP, you really shouldn't be doing that. Hey Ted: what I think of such restrictive rules is very similar to the initials of that phone company.

Broadband Reports has a growing thread called Vonage finally adds ACR and other privacy features. By the way, ACR stands for Anonymous Call Rejection.

Mark Milliman is an interesting new telecom and Voip blogger I've just come across. He knows a lot about the technology but writes very clearly so that even non-techs can understand. He didn't write about Vonage this week, but is well worth reading anyway. To get to Mark's main blog page, click here.

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Vonage Voip Forum Member rlamans is, you might say, having trouble with hang-ups. I mean, we all have them, but his hang-ups are of the type that he describes in a thread that he's started and named, Phone rings after hang-up.

"When I hang-up the (Vonage) phone after a conversation, the phone will start to ring. It will continue to ring until transferring to voice mail" rlamans writes. ""If the phone is answered - no one is there, and the phone will resume ringing when it is again hung up and stops when transferred to voice mail. (There is no voice mail ...)

"This appears to be an intermittent problem - might be specific to the main phone connected to my PBX system (a Panasonic phone)," he adds. "I have not noticed the problem with other phones on the system."

Vonage Forum Member galion- an electrical engineer by trade, I might add- is willing to bet the problem is not the Vonage connection, but the phone itself.

"Well, best we can do is guess, but I have seen a similar problem with an old Radio Shack phone I bought back in 1988," Galion writes. "When the phone is hanging up it sounds like it is "flashing" the switchhook, meaning it looks like you were trying to put the call on hold to make a 3rd party conference call or some other feature such as a transfer in a PBX."

Galion adds that he would bet the phone uses an electronic relay for opening and closing the loop. Something has happened to that circuit. Voltage too low, phone damaged, etc. He then asks rlamans if he has, or can, taken "the phone home or to some other system and see how it works there? Unfortunately it may be like my old Radio Shack phone and can't be corrected."

But then comes fellow Vonage Forum Member KDWycha, with another one of his light touches.

"This happens to my phone every once in a while. Only rings once or twice" KD writes. "Does not really bother me. Have no idea why it does it." PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Rolling Eyes"

Want To Write A Vonage Review?

Here on the Vonage Voip Forum, we have a lively review section. Here, readers and Vonage users post their reviews and opinions about Vonage service and equipment. The link for these reviews is:

What's that? Want to write your own review, and let others know what you think about Vonage service and equipment? Sure. Go to our "Write a Review for Vonage Voip Forum" page at On this page, you'll see the following spaces where you will want to enter the information that will comprise your review.

In the Product Title box, enter the name of the product you are reviewing, such as the type of router you might want to review.

In The Review box, write your actual review. Try to write at least 100 words. Try to use good grammar and spelling, and please stay away from all-CAPS.

In The Your Name box, type in your full name.

In the Your Email box, type in your email address.

Next, you'll notice a Score pull-down menu. Choose a number from 1 to 10, with 10 being the top rating for the Product you are writing about

In the Related Link box, type the Web site address for the Product you are writing about. This is not mandatory, though.

If you enter a Related Link, you will want to give that link a title. Type the title in to the Link Title Box.

After you complete your information, click Preview to see how your entry reads, and will look when it is posted. If you like what you see, click Yes.

As we close out today's Digest, I'd like to remind you once again about some more options you have to receive the Vonage Voip Forum Digest every day. If you go to this page:, you will see a list of RSS Newsreaders from which with one or two clicks, you'll be able to get your Digest delivered directly to your Newsreader each morning. The Newsreaders we've linked to on that page include such reliable and trusted services as Bloglines, Feedster, My Yahoo!, Newsgator and Feedburner. I am open to add others, just contact me with the info of the Newsreader.

That's what's hot about Vonage today. We'll be back on Monday morning with our next edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest, including our popular Vonage VoIP Forum Member of the Week feature!!

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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 for details.

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