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mikebrown Posted:
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check out -

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Hard Wiring - Installation
Hardwiring in a Rental House
On Oct 24, 2017 at 22:29:48

mikebrown Posted:
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Hard Wiring - Installation
Hardwiring in a Rental House
On Jun 24, 2017 at 09:15:34

Haniltery Posted:
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history also some
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How to Delete call history from online account?
On May 09, 2017 at 06:14:26

diana87 Posted:
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Recent calling problem from Egypt
On May 02, 2017 at 17:28:06

dconnor Posted:
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virtual number?

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Vonage UK
How do you call 999
On Apr 27, 2017 at 18:52:02

Trafford Posted:
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rely exclusively
on a Vonage system
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Vonage UK
How do you call 999
On Apr 27, 2017 at 10:42:50

diazou Posted:
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? Thanks!

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IP PBX for small business
On Mar 28, 2017 at 12:42:33

jeddaisg Posted:
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Ethernet Cable; Wiring schematic? 568-B?
On Feb 23, 2017 at 18:33:52

beast321 Posted:
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Using phone as a dial up modem for Dreamcast Gaming
On Feb 16, 2017 at 03:16:51

Av8rix Posted:
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new thread on an
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I google “Vonage
MAC address

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New adapter and router -- MAC change
On Jan 11, 2017 at 01:07:21

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Net technology has galvanized the US telecoms industry

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Comment & Analysis
A Disruptive Technology - How The Rise Of Internet Telephony Is Shaking Up America's Communications Giants

April 13, 2004

By Demetri Sevastopulo and Paul Taylor

Net technology has galvanized the US telecoms industry.

As AT&T and others race to capture the market in next-generation telephony, Paul Taylor looks at the likely winners and losers. In 1984 the US telecommunications landscape was transformed by the break-up of the Bell telephone system, a court-mandated move that forced AT&T to spin off its local telephone operations and ushered in a new era of competition in the local and long-distance telephone markets.

Twenty years later, the telecoms market is on the verge of another revolution, driven this time by the growing use of internet technology for voice telephony. Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has described Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony as a "disruptive technology" that is likely to bring fundamental changes in both fixed line and mobile telecoms.

This time AT&T is determined to come off better. "We intend to be the market leader in Voip services," says David Dorman, chairman and chief executive. Last month the long-distance carrier became the first big telecoms group to launch a consumer broadband telephony service when it unveiled a Dollars 40-a-month unlimited call service dubbed CallVantage.

Consumers who sign up for CallVantage must have a broadband internet connection, via either cable or DSL (digital subscriber line). To use the service, they plug a small adaptor into their broadband connection and then plug a standard telephone into the adaptor.

AT&T believes the service will help it compete more effectively against the local phone companies, which currently charge substantial "access" fees to connect its long-distance customers' calls, and against Voip pioneers such as Vonage.

It will have its work cut out. Communications companies large and small are scrambling to enter the consumer Voip market. Over the past few months a number of cable television companies - including Time Warner and Comcast - have announced plans to introduce consumer Voip services this year. So have Verizon and Qwest, two of the four big regional carriers. Voip is galvanising competition in the US telecoms market.

This is a big change from the position just a few years ago. First-generation internet telephony services were an unattractive proposition for consumers. Most were based on personal computer systems with headsets and microphones rather than ordinary telephones. Sound quality was poor, in part because services ran over low-bandwidth dial-up connections. Voip was seen as strictly for the geeks.

Since then the growth of broadband internet access in homes in the US and elsewhere, coupled with improved software, has enabled equipment makers and service providers to offer much better voice services using less expensive hardware. Calls over broadband internet connections are now indistinguishable from most ordinary phone voice calls, and are often better than the wireless service quality US consumers have come to accept.

They are also cheaper. So far, Voip is regulated as an "information" rather than as a "telecommunications" service (see sidebar). That means providers can avoid the charges - notably the access fees charged by local phone companies - that traditional voice services incur. For the average consumer, Voip offers savings of about 30 per cent over conventional telephony. Businesses, attracted by the cost advantages, are already big users of VoIP.

In the past two years several companies - such as Vonage, 8x8, VoicePulse, VoiceGlo and Galaxy - have sprung up to exploit this burgeoning market. Vonage, the market leader, offers consumers Voip packages starting at Dollars 15 a month for 500 minutes of local and long-distance calls. The New Jersey-based start-up has signed up more than 135,000 customers since launching its service 18 months ago.

In doing so, it has proved the business case for Voip in two main ways, says Jon Arnold, programme leader for the Voip practice at Frost & Sullivan, the technology consultancy: "First, it has demonstrated that real alternatives exist today to conventional 'circuit-switched' voice and, second, it has proved there is a market of consumers out there who are willing to pay for such a service, and even forgo their regional Bell operating company ties."

The consensus view is that that market will grow fast. Analysts at In-Stat/ MDR, an Arizona-based research firm, expect that the number of Voip subscribers in the US will jump from about 380,000 this year to 4m in 2007. Light Reading, a web-based service that tracks the communications network business, believes the market for all Voip equipment will grow from about Dollars 1bn (Euros 827m, Pounds 550m) last year to almost Dollars 4.3bn in 2006. erhaps the strongest force driving the introduction of Voip services is the opportunity to compete in previously inaccessible markets and take on the four dominant local phone companies that emerged from the AT&T break-up. As Mr Arnold notes, despite the break-up, "market power (in the US communications industry) has long been in the hands of a few service providers".

The 1996 Telecommunications Act tried to encourage competition but has had only limited success. "What we're left with is a world that looks more and more like it did before 1984," says Mr Arnold. "The incumbents still control local access, the IXCs (inter-exchange carriers) still control long-distance, and in the cable world a handful of multiple-service operators still dominate."

Voip telephony, by circumventing the fees that its traditional counterpart attracts, makes it economically viable for new competitors to challenge the incumbents. Long-distance carriers such as AT&T can begin to offer local phone services that undercut the price charged by local operators.

"(Internet protocol) is very quickly changing the ground rules, as everyone is now competing against everyone else, and challenging the very definition of a carrier," says Mr Arnold.

Indeed, the growing recognition of the IP standard is changing the economics of the telecoms industry. Unlike traditional "circuit switched" telephony, which requires a dedicated circuit to be set up between caller and recipient, IP telephony breaks voice calls down into small packets of data that then travel down a common network link and are reassembled at the other end. The packets from many calls travel together at the same time - unlike traditional telephony, where a single call ties up an end-to-end telecoms link.

This enables IP networks to be much more efficient than traditional circuit-switched voice networks, and to be built around much cheaper software "switches" instead of the big and expensive physical switches installed in traditional telephone exchanges. As a result, they cost less to build and operate and are much more flexible than traditional networks.

Driven in part by the need to cut costs, most telecoms carriers have begun to remodel their network infrastructure. Most, including AT&T, stopped investing in new circuit switches several years ago and, over time, will eventually replace these old-style switches entirely.

Not only has this process enabled carriers like AT&T to lower their network operating costs, it has also provided them with direct experience of VoIP. The chances are that almost any long-distance or international voice call will travel at least part of the way as a Voip call without customers even being aware of it. "The end game is the complete transition of customers to packet-switched telephone services," says Lawrence Babbio, president of Verizon Communications, the largest local phone company in the US.

That represents a challenge for the big telecoms equipment vendors, including Lucent, Nortel and Alcatel. Although they have moved into providing software switches as well as the traditional type, they are facing competition from next-generation vendors such as Sonus, Ciena and VocalTec.

They are also under pressure in the market for corporate telephony, where network vendors such as Cisco are challenging their dominance. Though Cisco has struggled to penetrate the US carrier market - despite a string of strategic acquisitions - it dominates the market for enterprise Voip installations along with Avaya, the New Jersey-based communications systems group that was spun off several years ago by Lucent.

Both companies have been successful at selling Voip telephone systems into businesses, particularly in the financial services and banking sector. Shifting voice traffic to their internal internet protocol data network - or an outsourced service - not only enables companies to reduce operating costs, but also allows them to provide advanced features such as "follow-me" telephone services and extensive call logging and management.

Many large businesses have been quietly reorganising their internal telecoms operations to exploit the technology. While some, such as Merrill Lynch, have spoken publicly about their Voip plans, many others adopted the technology but have remained silent because they view it as providing them with a competitive edge.

For now, though, all eyes are on the gathering struggle for the consumer Voip market. The biggest winners are likely to be the cable television network operators, which already have a big "pipe" into many homes. For them, the ability to offer voice services alongside TV and video-on-demand services represents an extra revenue source and an opportunity to tie their customers more closely to them.

Long-distance phone companies such as AT&T and Sprint are also poised to do well because Voip enables them to enter local phone markets with cut-price services. Among the traditional equipment vendors, Nortel has emerged as a potential winner, having identified the market shift earlier than some of its competitors.

It is the local phone companies, including the four regional carriers, Verizon, SBC Communications, BellSouth and Qwest, that many analysts regard as vulnerable. Significantly, Standard & Poor's, the US ratings agency, recently put Verizon's "A+" long-term rating on its credit watch list "with negative implications", citing the threat of increased competition - particularly from cable companies - and the impact of new technologies.

Faced with growing competition, both Verizon and Qwest have decided that it is better to risk cannibalising their existing customer base than to allow others to do so. Both companies plan to launch Voip services, initially to their DSL customers. Mr Babbio acknowledges that Voip is "disruptive" but insists that it is "not a threat (but) an opportunity to disrupt the existing carriers".

Jeffrey Citron, Vonage's chief executive, is similarly bullish. The entry of cable operators and the likes of AT&T validates the market and raises public awareness of VoIP. "We welcome the competition from AT&T and others," he says. "This is a vast market."

Tough Calls For The Regulators To Make

Voice over Internet Protocol is expected to make rapid inroads into the realm of traditional telephony. But one obstacle that companies cannot overlook is the current lack of clarity on how the technology will eventually be regulated.

In the US the Federal Communications Commission last month launched proceedings to determine what regulatory framework should apply to VoIP. While consumers may ultimately notice little difference between Voip telephone calls and traditional wire-line calls, the distinctions have important consequences for both state and federal regulators.

Michael Powell, FCC chairman, favours a minimally regulated environment for VoIP, to promote innovation in the nascent technology. Invoking what has become an important election year issue, Mr Powell also argues that excessive regulation would cost American jobs because Voip companies could easily relocate overseas.

"Our starting point . . . isthe recognition that all IP-enabled services exist in a dynamic, fast-changing environment that is peculiarly ill-suited to the century-old telephone model of regulation," he said last month. "We will not dumb down the genius of the web to match the limited vision of a regulator."

But Mr Powell and the other four FCC commissioners face a difficult task trying to determine the appropriate level of regulation for VoIP. One of the main reasons is that the agency must consider the technology in the context of the 1996 Telecommunications act. Telecoms lawyers already consider the statute to be vague in the best of times - resulting in most FCC decisions being challenged in court - but many of the internet applications had not yet been invented when the act was written.

Ultimately, the regulatory outcome for Voip hinges on whether the FCC classifies it as an "information" service or a "telecommunications" service. Under the Telecommunications act, information services are subject to much lighter regulation than telecoms services.

Those who want to free Voip from the regulatory shackles forced on traditional phone services argue that Voip should be classified as an information service, particularly when consumers access the internet over cable broadband. They say that imposing burdensome regulations on Voip would be tantamount to regulating the internet, something Congress is keen to avoid.

Opponents respond that Voip services have a telecoms component, especially when consumers access the internet over traditional phone lines or through Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) that partly ride over the copper phone wires.

Mr Powell, himself an advocate of minimal regulation, has indicated that Voip should be considered an information service. But he needs the backing of at least two other commissioners to ensure that he can push through his vision.

While he appears to have the support of Kevin Martin and Kathleen Abernathy, the two Republicans, the two Democrats have expressed some reservations. Michael Copps, one of them, warned his colleagues against rushing to a decision before the commission has reviewed the complete record of submissions from the public and industry.

States, for example, are concerned that classifying Voip as an information service - which may allow some telephone companies to circumvent existing regulations and taxes - could result in creating huge dents in their budgets. Most states have adopted a wait-and-see approach while the FCC makes its decision, but some have chosen to proceed independently. Last August the Minnesota state regulator ruled that Vonage, the largest Voip provider, should be subject to state telecoms regulations. However, a Minnesota court overturned the decision, ruling that "state regulation over Voip services is not permissible because of the recognisable congressional intent to leave the internet and information services largely unregulated".

Another set of court decisions has raised a possible red flag that could have ramifications for the outcome of the Voip debate. In 2002, the FCC concluded that cable broadband was an information service. But an appeals court later ruled that cable broadband should be considered a hybrid service, with both telecoms and information service components. The FCC is currently considering whether to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The FCC faces a host of other issues, such as how to guarantee low-income and rural consumers access to new technologies. Law enforcement agencies are also concerned about the potential for a borderless, unregulated Voip world curbing their ability to track terrorists.

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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.

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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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