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kriswd40
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: How to tell if people on our network are using Vonage? Reply with quote Back to top

EzCo wrote:
Sounds fishy to me too. A repsentative from a local telco in Michigan is posting to a forum to try to figure out something as basic as that?


If this is so basic, post me an answer. As I understand, it's just typical IP traffic going over our network so that probably won't look any differant than someone browsing the web or playing a game... but there must be a central server (or servers) that all these phones all must connect through (or periodically check in with), I would think we could monitor our traffic and see what customers are going to these particular servers/ip addresses. No idea what these addresses are, any one else know? Know of a better way?
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

kriswd40 wrote:
NateHoy wrote:
In any case, I would think that without an actual phone line, there would be no liability for 911 charges, since they cannot call 911 on a DSL line... ?

Or are you required to provide 911 dialtone on even basic DSL lines? And, if so, why are you not just adding the appropriate surcharge to all DSL lines?


I don't know exactly WHAT we are required to charge on nor the full details of why we have to do it. It's been my understanding though that since they are still using our phone line for any form of phone service, there are certain fees that MUST be paid.

We have a revised billing plan for customers that are using Vonage with only DSL (no local phone service) but at this point, we only know the customer is using Vonage if they admit to it. They could be using a cellphone for telephone service as well, but without being able to determine that fact, we have been forced to disconect the customer unless they agree to pay the extra amount (which they should not have to do if they aren't using a service like Vonage).


The legalities of this are confusing the hell out of me, sorry.

Vonage is a "phone line" of sorts, but they provide their own 911 to the local 911 center using means that have nothing to do with your company. In this way, the Vonage line is equivalent to a cell phone, and Vonage would be responsible for those fees.

I'm still very confused as to how a customer who uses a Voip technology that has its own separate 911 infrastructure in place to place 911 calls that does not go through your POTS 911 service in any way, shape, or form would need to pay a local regulatory fee. Vonage is buying access to your local 911 infrastructure themselves, using a national call center service or in some cases by contracting with a local 911 center (aka "E911").

If you have to provide 911 on the dial tone, then you should legitimately be charging all customers for that service. If you don't, then I don't see what you are charging for, exactly? The DSL line does NOT need to support 911. It only needs to pass Internet packets successfully to Vonage so they can use their POTS gateway and 911/E911 service which they are already paying for to route calls to the 911 center.

I think someone in your legal department is grossly misunderstanding how Voip works.

Someone who uses Vonage to call 911 would be the same as someone who uses a Cell - your company is not putting the call through to 911, Vonage is, and Vonage would be responsible for any 911 access charges, 911 infrastructure, and/or 911 tolls.

The call would go out through a Vonage POTS gateway and enter the POTS network on a separate POTS line that Vonage pays all 911 fees and intrastate charges for. Those fees are already being paid by the Vonage customer as part of their monthly bill because they already have a phone line and phone number - it just doesn't happen to be in your data centers (or, in fact, it may be if you are the local gateway provider for Vonage in your area).

_________________
Comcast Cable (3m down / 256k up) -> Linksys BEFCMU10 v2 (DOCSIS 1.0) -> WRT54G v4 ("Tomato" firmware) -> the rest of my network including a WRTP54G (Firmware: 5.01.04)
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AFKsky
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If this is the case you will need to talk with Vonage. and with the FCC. I am having a hard time understanding why a 3rd party must charge the user the fees.. The way it works here in PA is verizon bills Vonage -> Vonage bills user or if we use a dif phone service othe then verizon for POT server verizon bills company giving POT and they bill user.

Regards
Will
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kriswd40
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: How to tell if people on our network are using Vonage? Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
This is the most rediculous thing I've heard (in a while). Do you actually have lawyers in your legal department? So, just because you think, maybe, a user might be using a Voip provider, you must tax them as if they are definitely using it? What if they aren't? Do those taxes go to the orphans?


We want to know IF they are using Vonage so we DON'T have to unnessasarily charge those that aren't. As of now, without knowing, we are forced to charge them as if they were.

Why? Because that's what our legal team has told us we must do and it's not something I can argue.
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: How to tell if people on our network are using Vonage? Reply with quote Back to top

kriswd40 wrote:
If this is so basic, post me an answer. As I understand, it's just typical IP traffic going over our network so that probably won't look any differant than someone browsing the web or playing a game... but there must be a central server (or servers) that all these phones all must connect through (or periodically check in with), I would think we could monitor our traffic and see what customers are going to these particular servers/ip addresses. No idea what these addresses are, any one else know? Know of a better way?


I think the basic key is that you are looking in the wrong place. Wink

I don't think anyone here is going to help you cripple Vonage. It's like going to a web site on cars and asking if there is a way to remotely break someone's car. You'll likely receive a cool response, if any.

I think someone from your legal department needs to contact someone from Vonage's legal department and work this out, shark-to-shark, to find out whether the money Vonage is likely ALREADY PAYING for access to 911 in your state covers any potential liabilities your company has.

You may also want to remind your legal department that several court cases around the country have decided that blocking access to Voip is not legal, and you are potentially opening your company up to lawsuits.

I don't work for Vonage, and anyone who does work for them and posts here are not doing so as an agent of Vonage. This is an independent site. So I'd recommend you, or your legal department, contact Vonage and work this out with them.

_________________
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kriswd40
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

[quote="NateHoy"][quote="kriswd40"]
NateHoy wrote:

I think someone in your legal department is grossly misunderstanding how Voip works.


That is ENTIRELY possible. This news came down from the legal team, to my boss, then to me, I'm the only one remotely tech savy out of that bunch. No one has told me what tolls/charges have to be paid, just that there are things that have to be charged if our phone lines are being used for telephone service in ANY WAY.

They have told me that anyone using Vonage over DSL (be it with us, SBC, whoever) without phone service as well must pay these charges but these charges do not apply to those using Vonage over cable modems, since that isn't going over the phone lines.

Enlighten me if you know more.
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kriswd40
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

AFKsky wrote:
If this is the case you will need to talk with Vonage. and with the FCC. I am having a hard time understanding why a 3rd party must charge the user the fees.. The way it works here in PA is verizon bills Vonage -> Vonage bills user or if we use a dif phone service othe then verizon for POT server verizon bills company giving POT and they bill user.

Regards
Will


I'm pretty sure we don't bill Vonage for anything... and maybe that is the problem.
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navydavy2001
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'll just add to Nate's comments that it's well documented that Michigan does NOT like Voip and what it means to traditional wireline companies, and have even sued (unsuccessfully) Vonage in the past. Your legal team SHOULD talk to Vonage directly. Nevermind that it's inappropriate and unprofessional to "get the real poop" or "sneak around" to find the answer here.

Most of the Vonage servers are located in Shangri La, if that helps. Very Happy

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kriswd40
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Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Re: How to tell if people on our network are using Vonage? Reply with quote Back to top

NateHoy wrote:
kriswd40 wrote:
If this is so basic, post me an answer. As I understand, it's just typical IP traffic going over our network so that probably won't look any differant than someone browsing the web or playing a game... but there must be a central server (or servers) that all these phones all must connect through (or periodically check in with), I would think we could monitor our traffic and see what customers are going to these particular servers/ip addresses. No idea what these addresses are, any one else know? Know of a better way?


I think the basic key is that you are looking in the wrong place. Wink

I don't think anyone here is going to help you cripple Vonage. It's like going to a web site on cars and asking if there is a way to remotely break someone's car. You'll likely receive a cool response, if any.


I understand where you're coming from, and while I am only looking to determine IF a customer is using Vonage, definatly the same information could be used to block them from using it. I'm seriously not looking to do that, but obviously a few of you here think I am.
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EzCo
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Joined: Jul 21, 2005
Posts: 533
Location: Southeastern PA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

navydavy2001 wrote:
Your legal team SHOULD talk to Vonage directly. Nevermind that it's inappropriate and unprofessional to "get the real poop" or "sneak around" to find the answer here.
Very Happy


I think that's the salient point here. Your company is trying to use the IT department to snoop on user traffic to solve a potential legal/billing issue, which just doesn't scale. Like NavyDavy says, you should push back and tell your legal dept. to go do their jobs and contact Vonage, and by the way, all the other Voip providers as well so see how to properly address the issue.

They may also want to contact other telcos in Michigan to see what they do. You're not the only telco in Michigan, so go see how everyone else is handling this.


Last edited by EzCo on Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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