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scerruti
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:48 am    Post subject: Draft for overhall of telecommunication law Reply with quote Back to top

CNET has an article, Congress releases draft broadband bill, that presents some proposed changes for Voip.

One point highlighted in the article is the inclusion of a provision that would prohibit ISPs from blocking access to services, something Vonage has been pushing for.

However, it appears that the bill would then encourage Voip providers to negotiate rates that ISPs would charge for access to these services.

Quote:
Recourse for Voip providers: They're expected to negotiate their own rates with telecommunications companies for use of their wires


This is horrible news in my opinion. I don't want my cable company to be tacking on a fee to my bill for using Vonage instead of their more expensive service. In addition it is horrible news for low bandwidth wireless providers who are going to have to provide access to services that will degrade the quality of the connection for all of their users.

Finally it is going to force hot spot providers to start blocking ports or requiring different levels of access depending on what services the customers want to use.

About the only people who would benefit from this change going forward would be companies like Narus that are building semantic traffic analyzers to capture billing data.

Hopefully my interpretation of CNETs interpretation of this bill is incorrect.

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gagoots
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This is total ****!! The ISP's ALREADY charge for using thier service!! WHo's to say that using the internet for VOICE shold be an additional fee!! Sending MAIL is not charged additonally by your ISP...why should TALKING??? SCREW THEM!!! How do I fight this??
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It wouldn't be too difficult for a Voip provider to create fake servers offshore, have them operated by a foreign front company and then route calls that way. Where there's a will, there's a way. Skype/MSN/Free World Dialup use SIP, but to no particular carrier, which would make life difficult for the cable co's trying to bill out these customers.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Vonage is already preparing to fight the so-called VoIP Price Blocking

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scerruti
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I would like to say that I am not against ISPs charging a premium to allow you to use Voip. What I have is a problem with poorly designed legislation that distorts how the market operates so as to favor incumbent companies over competition.

I agree with Forrest Miller, group president at SBC,
Quote:
How can I justify a $4 billion investment in [Project] Lightspeed if it’s a commons? If Jeff [Citron] wants a better part of the pipe, he’s welcome to pay for it.
As long as Mr. Miller doesn't plan on recouping costs based on profits from Voip services rather than from DSL charges to provide Voip services, I think he is right.

However, if ISPs want to charge extra for services they should charge customers based on measurable usage or added features. That is they should base monthly charges on peak bandwidth or total traffic or some combination or they should add a QoS option with an SLA.

They should not be allowed, or in this case regulated, to charge different prices based on the destination of the traffic (i.e. a specific Voip company) or the content of the traffic (e.g. SIP vs. Skype's protocol vs. streaming audio). There is essentially no difference from the ISPs point of view between you making a phone call to hear a recorded message and you listening to a streamed recorded message, both use the same system resources in the same manner.

Furthermore this legislation creates additional problems. The ISP cost is negotiated by the Voip carrier even though it is an additional cost for service you pay for and you will, in the end, be paying that cost. When costs start to get hidden from the users it makes it harder for the users to make fair choices.

There is no way that wireless ISPs and certain other types of carriers are going to be able to adhere to these regulations, it would destroy their service to allow anyone to connect to anything at any bandwidth. Satellite providers saw that and were forced to create the concept of FAPping to fairly distribute available bandwidth among all subscribers.

These regulations also call into question the practice of blocking port 80 incoming and port 25 outgoing. Both of these practices are common and useful.

It keeps coming back to the same thing. Regulate the wires separately from the services. The current model regulates them together because most of the existing companies combine both. But, with the Internet, the service being offered is separate from the delivery mechanism and creating legislation that deals with them as a single entity is inherently flawed. And in this environment where the incumbents control the wires and are competing with companies offering services it tips the scales in favor of the incumbents.

The best example of this is the USF. If the USF is designed to provide access in rural areas then it makes sense to add it on to all forms of delivery. But it does not make sense to apply the USF to the charges for the service because the service cost is the same once the wiring is in place.

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Steve48
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

scerruti wrote:
I would like to say that I am not against ISPs charging a premium to allow you to use Voip.


Why, if I might ask? I'm already paying for the broadband ISP service, and the provider makes a big point of indicating that it's continuous and unlimited. Why should the ISP then be allowed to charge extra if I use the bandwidth for which I'm already paying to talk with someone by voice rather than Email?

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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If the ISPs are going to charge users for usage, they probably should start with P2P users who kill the bandwidth on shared connections (Cable). Voip uses so little bandwidth compared to other uses of the 'net that it's no real skin off the ISPs back to have users running Voip.

The other thing is that I'm on no single connection for more than a couple of days at most. How is a travelling Voip user going to be dealt with on this? Should someone be charged because they're using Voip for one night?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

VonageTPA wrote:
Voip uses so little bandwidth compared to other uses of the 'net that it's no real skin off the ISPs back to have users running Voip.


Just so. I see no justification for an ISP to charge more for Voip, and doing so would likely kill a lot of the advantage that most of us expect to derive from using Vonage. I had no issues with Southern Bell except the cost of the service.

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scerruti
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Steve48 wrote:
scerruti wrote:
I would like to say that I am not against ISPs charging a premium to allow you to use Voip.


Why, if I might ask? I'm already paying for the broadband ISP service, and the provider makes a big point of indicating that it's continuous and unlimited. Why should the ISP then be allowed to charge extra if I use the bandwidth for which I'm already paying to talk with someone by voice rather than Email?


First, your provider most likely reserves the right to change their terms at any time, so any argument about advertising "continuous and unlimited" is probably not relevant. People scream and cry whenever a company makes significant changes in how they are offering services, but ultimately unless you have a long term contract with them they are not bound to continue offering that type of service. Obviously these companies are under some level of regulation, but the link Dan posted talked about an ISP requiring Voip customers to use a higher priced static IP plan. This is simply one example of how ISPs can force you into paying more.

The current billing methodology for residential Internet service is flawed. The real problem is that it is very hard to implement and justify metered plans. Often the cost of measuring usage for billing outweighs the benefits to be gained.

There would be several motivations for implementing a higher charge for Voip, and note that although I say charge higher for Voip my argument above is they would have to increase your bill based on actual usage and not specifically because you use Voip.
  1. ISPs have noticed people are willing to pay for Voip and therefore they want a piece of the pie. Most people are saving enough on Voip over traditional service that the ISP could tack on a dollar or two and not hurt the market, especially if it was hidden in your Voip bill as is described in the current draft legislation.
  2. ISPs want to force third party Voip prices up to make their less efficient Voip offerings more price competitive. Most Cable ISPs are offering a service that was intended to compete with POTS and is not designed to compete on cost with Vonage.
  3. Forward looking ISPs may implement protocols that allow for QoS provisions that enable you to get priority on your traffic all the way through their network, and possibly farther. It would be reasonable to pass the cost of new network equipment on to those who wished to make use of those features.


Of those reasons, only (b) is truly ugly. (c) is obviously justifiable and actually a good thing. There are situations where (a) would be justified as well.

Current flat rate billing is grossly unfair to people whose email checking is slowed by file traders. Both are paying the same rate for vastly different traffic and vastly different effects on the network.

Although file traders have the most significant impact, the protocols used are tolerant of lost packets and congestion. Voip and other real time protocols are not. Therefore if an ISP is experiencing congestion the users that will suffer most are the Voip users. If the ISP has to add capacity so that Voip users have good quality connections then why should the email user or even the file trader have to foot the bill?

For reference I developed a destination sensitive Internet billing system for an international ISP and data center operator (now gone) and had a paper published on how 95th percentile billing (the most common type of commercial Internet billing) works and how the system can be manipulated. I claim to know a little bit about Internet billing (and everyone knows a little knowlege can be dangerous Smile ).

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Steve48
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks for the reply.

I certainly don't disagree that the terms of service would allow ISPs to get away with this, but I just don't see much justification for it. As has been pointed out, the bandwidth used by Voip is pretty small, and many of us just aren't on the phone all that much.

Your point (c) is the one that I find most reasonable. Some sort of priority service guarantee would at least return value for the extra charge, at least in principle.

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