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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - November 3, 2005


Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

November 3, 2005

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest. In today's edition, we'll go over news stories that say Vonage may be holding talks with potential buyers of the company. We'll go over a big news story about how some VoIP companies (not including Vonage) are doing to delay the November 28 U.S. deadline for Voip services to enable emergency operators to find you even if you are not logging on from your address you registered with. We'll discuss what Vonage is, and isn't doing as those delay efforts go forward. We'll tell you about a large North American city where you will be able to pay for Vonage service as part of a package with cell and cable tv.  We'll check out a Vonage Voip Forum thread about that sale possibility I just mentioned, as well as a thread about new firmware you may have automatically received from Vonage for your Linksys RTP300 router. Finally, I added a short section explaining how I come up with those titles (like "Vonage Forum Senior") you see next to Forum Member names in the posts they put up.

There's a lot to cover today, so let us get started.



Vonage In The Headlines

Wall Street Journal Article Says Vonage Is Holding "Exploratory" Sell Talks

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article today that says not only that Vonage is planning an initial public offering of stock that could raise $600 million, but it has also held exploratory talks that would sell the company for around $2 million. 

The newspaper reports that two of the companies Vonage has been talking to are SprintNextel and T-Mobile, while "traditional" media companies as well as Internet companies have also expressed interest.

Further down in today's edition, we'll explore what one Vonage Forum Member thinks of such reports that Vonage might sell itself one day.

Vonage Is Going Ahead On Assumption Nov. 28 E911 Rules Will Stick

On November 28, all Voip providers, including Vonage, are mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to offer the type of E911 services that would let emergency dispatchers be able to identify the caller's phone number and location. Those subscribers who could not be connected to this enhanced E911 dialing would, in most cases, have to be disconnected.

Some efforts are underway to delay or modify this ruling. Yesterday a United States Senate Committee approved a bill that would give the FCC 120 days to devise new requirements "that are technologically and operationally feasible."

It would also allow the FCC to waive those requirements for up to a year for companies that have, among other conditions, demonstrated that it is not, in fact, "technically or operationally feasible" to provide enhanced 911 service. The news was welcomed by Voip providers that have argued that compliance with the FCC's rule would take an unreasonably large investment in call routers for obscure locations in order to recognize the location of "nomadic" users all over the world.

"There are areas where we know services will be a little late, rural areas where they don't have the money to upgrade," said Sen. Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican, one of the co-sponsors of the amended bill.

The bill would also prohibit the FCC from requiring Voip providers like Vonage to disconnect any customers, provided that the customers had subscribed before Dec. 31, 2005, and submitted a written or electronic acknowledgment of possible 911 limitations to the company, and that the company continued to give "clear and conspicuous notice" of the lack of 911 services in billing statements and other documents.

The bill would shield Voip providers and users and emergency call centers from liability if anything went wrong--such as dropped calls.. It would, however, also require owners of the public safety infrastructure to provide VoIP providers access to 911 components needed to make connections.

On another front, four smaller competitors of Vonage filed a motion with a U.S. Appeals Court to partially delay enforcement of new Federal Communications Commission guidelines requiring them to ensure that Voip companies like Vonage be given more time past the current November 28 FCC deadline 

The CEO of the lead company that filed the suit said that offering complete E911 now would require hooking his, and other Voip companies to a traditional wireline network with national coverage. He said that's currently impossible because of technology differences, the fact Voip customers can make their calls from anywhere in the world and traditional phone companies aren't required to provide the Voip networks with access to their lines.

"Ultimately the main stumbling block is the FCC gave us 120 days to develop and design an E911 system similar to the wireless service that's been out for 12 years," he said.

Vonage did not have any immediate comment. But, as I wrote in yesterday's Digest, they appear to be going ahead with the presumption that the rules currently in affect will go ahead.

As I noted yesterday, some friends who are Vonage users have just received this email from Vonage:

Dear Valued Vonage Customer,
All Voip providers are required by the FCC to provide 911 Dialing service to all customers. In addition to acknowledging our 911 Dialing notice, you must also provide us with the location information (street address) where you will be using your Vonage service.

You can provide us your street address by simply logging in to your web account https://secure.vonage.com/webaccount/public/login.htm, selecting the Features link on your dashboard, and filling out a short form with your street address in the 911 Dialing feature box. Once we have this information, your 911 Dialing will be available within a couple of hours.

Please note, if you have multiple phone lines you MUST provide us with the street address for each line separately in order to activate 911 Dialing. 911 calls are routed based on the street address you have registered with us, so if you move your device you must re-register your new street address. Also, if you add a line to your account you will need to activate 911 Dialing by providing us with your street address for that line as well. Remember, you can easily update your street address at any time through your web account.

At Vonage your safety is important to us, and we look forward to providing you with reliable broadband phone service.

Sincerely,
Vonage Customer Care

Vonage Will Be Available As Part of Cable TV and Broadband Internet Package

Vonage Canada has announced an agreement with Novus Entertainment that will see Novus offer Vonage service in Vancouver, B.C.. Novus Entertainment provides cable TV and high-speed Internet access to residential buildings in Vancouver's downtown core.

Consumers will be able to purchase the Vonage Internet phone service as part of a bundled offer with NovusTV and Novus Internet products. Customers who purchase Vonage Internet phone service and Novus Internet products will receive a discount on their Internet service. When a customer signs up for the services the discount will be applied to the customer's Novus account and the discount is deducted once the customer has been a Novus customer for 60 days.

By the way, did you know our Vonage Forum has a special Vonage Canada Forum area? You can find it here at http://www.vonage-forum.com/forum5.html.

Speaking of the Vonage Forum...

 

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Near the top of today's Digest, I mentioned a Wall Street Journal article that reported Vonage was holding exploratory talks to consider a possible sale of the company. Well, just a little while ago, I read a new thread about this issue from sojs, a Vonage Forum Member whose actual name is Sean. He's named this thread, Vonage Preps for IPO or Sale.

"My bottom-line hope is that Jeff Citron and the Vonage (Board of Directors) make sure that whatever happens, Vonage does not start to act like just another Baby Bell, cell phone company or one of the cable outfits," Sean writes.

"I signed up for Vonage because of price, features and the unique fact that there are no 'Gotchas' in the fine print," he adds. "If Vonage starts messing with success and changing too much of what brought me here in the first place, I won't be happy."

Well-put, Sean. And if you want to add your thoughts to Sean's thread, just click the link  Vonage Preps for IPO or Sale, scroll down below Sean (sojs) excellent post, and then click Post Reply. A page will come up where you will want to post your Subject Title, and your Reply.

In the last 12 hours or so prior to the time I posted this edition of the Digest, several Vonage Forum Members have said they have either requested and received, or automatically received, a firmware update to their Linksys RTP300 router they use for their Vonage calls.

A thread to this effect was started by Trowski, who named it 1.00.55 for the RTP300 is available if you request it.

After requesting the firmware update from Vonage, Trowski wrote that he "did a few test calls and the CID (Caller ID) showed up almost immediately. Tried a few Call Waiting with CID and it worked like a champ.

Trowski added that "also, MWI (Message Waiting Indicator) on the RTP300 is flashing, as is on my Uniden TRU8866, almost immediately."

Vonage Forum Member Mr_Sorento also requested the firmware update. "Just got off the phone with Vonage Tech Support and they pushed the new 1.00.55 firmware to my box," he writes. No problems so far!

Since Trowski's post, several other Vonage Forum Members including Mbarb, turbo53 and Talk4Cheap, have posted that they have received this latest RTP300 firmware update automatically from Vonage. 

So How Do We Come Up With Those Titles For You Members?

I am sure that many of you have noticed that next to each posts, we have a description of each Member- "Vonage Forum Associate," Vonage Forum Evangelist," etc. Most of these titles are assigned based on the number of Posts Members have made.

There's no secret formula. In case you are wondering, here it is:

New Forum Member 1 Post; Vonage Forum Member at least 10 Posts; Vonage Forum Associate, at least 25 Posts; Vonage Forum Junior, at least 40 Posts; Vonage Forum Senior, at least 75 Posts; Vonage Forum Master, at least 150 Posts; Vonage Forum Evangelist, at least 300 Posts, and Vonage Forum MVM, a minimum of 1000 Posts.

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: http://www.vonage-forum.com/syndication.html, 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 Friday morning with our next edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest, including our very popular In the Blogs 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 www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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