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 Vonage Puts Its Money On The Line

Vonage In Print News

Vonage Puts Its Money On The Line

March 11, 2005

By Staff

Founded just four years ago, Vonage Holdings has mushroomed into the largest provider of Internet-based phone service in North America. The company's offerings let consumers and small businesses make unlimited local and long-distance calls over their broadband Internet connections for $25 a month.

The residential market for Internet phone service is set to triple this year, to 2.8 million subscribers, according to researcher Yankee Group. That rapid growth has attracted major players such as Cablevision (CVC ) and Time Warner (TWX ) to the market. Though Vonage has an early lead, it remains to be seen how long it can compete against well-funded giants.

Vonage Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Citron spoke with BusinessWeek Correspondent Justin Hibbard on Mar. 1 about the outfit's prospects. Edited excerpts of that conversation follow:

 Posted by vonage on Monday, March 14 @ 16:16:04 EST
 (1073 reads)
Read More: Vonage Puts Its Money On The Line

 Rural Consideration Urged In Making VoIP Policy

Vonage In Print News

Rural Consideration Urged In Making Internet Phone Policy

March 9, 2005

By Brian Blackstone

WASHINGTON -- Representatives from the telecommunications industry on Wednesday urged policy makers to fix access fee and universal service systems to ensure burgeoning Internet telephone technology doesn't harm rural interests.

"There needs to be a broadband network in place for a customer to access and utilize an (Internet protocol) enabled service," Kevin Hess, vice president of TDS Telecommunications Corp. in Madison, Wis., said at a hearing of the Congressional Rural Caucus.

"But rural providers cannot continue to make the necessary investments if they cannot recover the costs of that investment from those who use the network," he added. Hess also spoke on behalf of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, which represents rural carriers.

According to BellSouth Corp. (BLS) chief technology officer Bill Smith, who also testified to the Rural Caucus, "consumers have already begun to switch from their traditional telephone service in favor of (voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP), and VOIP customer ranks are rapidly rising." He said VOIP residential subscribers totaled 1.1 million last year and are expected to swell to 29.2 million by the end of the decade.

Tuesday, Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) America Online unit became the latest Internet service provider to enter the Internet phone market.

Jeffrey Citron, chief executive of VOIP provider Vonage Holdings Corp., testified that subsidy systems should be retooled to expand Internet access. "The original goal of universal phone service across the country has largely been satisfied," he said, and "with only 33 million households on broadband connections, universal broadband should be the next goal of the subsidy system."

 Posted by vonage on Thursday, March 10 @ 23:00:00 EST
 (1537 reads)
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 Industry Officials Debate Policies For VoIP

Vonage In Print News

Industry Officials Debate Policies For Internet Telephony

March 9, 2005

By Drew Clark

A regional Bell telephone company, a rural carrier, a cable company and an Internet phone company disagreed Wednesday about the obligations and prices that communications companies must pay when they offer Internet telephony to rural America.

Speaking at a telecommunications forum hosted by a task force of the Congressional Rural Caucus, Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron said subsidies between long-distance and local telephone service must be eliminated.

Kevin Hess, vice president of federal affairs for the rural firm TDS Telecom, disagreed and said the current inter-carrier subsidization systems "remain the appropriate mechanism of compensation." Hess also said voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) providers like Vonage must contribute equally to the universal service fund (USF), which is designed to finance phone service to all Americans.

Reps. Charles (Chip) Pickering, R-Miss., and Rick Boucher, D-Va., also addressed the task force, and each outlined their bills to pre-empt state regulation of Internet-based services. Pickering's bill is focused on VoIP; Boucher's deals with all Internet services.

On USF and inter-carrier compensation, Pickering said VoIP providers must make "proportional compensation" when they connect with traditional phone carriers.

Currently, VoIP providers need not make any payments to the fund, and what they need to pay to dominant phone carriers is a hotly debated subject in the industry and before the FCC.

 Posted by vonage on Thursday, March 10 @ 19:50:36 EST
 (2237 reads)
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 Powell Takes Credit For VOIP Growth

Vonage In Print News

Powell Takes Credit For VOIP Growth

March 9, 2005

By Mark Sullivan

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Voice on the Net Conference -- Outgoing FCC Chairman Michael told a crowd of 2,500 here Tuesday that the relatively regulation-free growth of VOIP has been the crowning achievement of his term.

Looking bureaucratic and perfectly-pressed, Powell took the stage, endured an awkward-looking bear hug from conference organizer Jeff Pulver, and waited while much of the audience stood and applauded him (Pulver had suggested they do so).

“My nearly eight years as chairman of the FCC is coming to a close, but I can think of no better place than VON to deliver my swan song. Because VOIP clearly stands for what I have so hard fought to achieve.”

Powell said VOIP’s success hit him when he recently walked through an electronics store an saw a shelf full of plug-and-play VOIP products for the home. No word on whether the same feeling was shared by several Vonage Holdings Corp. customers last Friday (see Vonage Off the Hook).

Powell has indeed been a strong ally of the VOIP movement. For two years now a debate has raged on how to regulate VOIP. Powell has insisted that VOIP is fundamentally different than circuit switched phone service and should not be regulated like one (see Powell: VOIP Regs 'Grave Mistake' ). He is seen as the central player in holding off the regulatory forces of state bodies in favor of broader federal oversight of the industry -- an approach industry types much prefer.

Vonage CEO and VOIP industry poster boy Jeffrey Citron told Light Reading Monday: “I think that the loss of Michael Powell is a great loss for the VOIP business, and not only the VOIP but whole telecom industry. He’s always been very proactive, not reactive, and that’s why he’s been so effective.”

 Posted by vonage on Thursday, March 10 @ 18:44:47 EST
 (1230 reads)
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 Vonage CEO Citron Slams VOIP Blocking

Vonage In Print News

Vonage CEO Slams VOIP Blocking

March 9, 2005

By Stephen Lawson

The top executive of VOIP (Voice over IP) provider Vonage Holdings Corp. is satisfied with regulators' response to a carrier that blocked Vonage's service but sees a broader danger ahead with technology for detecting the data service that customers are using.

In an interview Monday at the Spring VON (Voice on the Net) trade show in San Jose, California, Vonage Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Citron also said traditional carriers can't afford to compete all-out with Vonage and other VOIP upstarts despite having greater resources.

Late last year, Vonage determined that Madison River Communications LLC, a broadband provider based in North Carolina, was blocking the use of Vonage's service by some Madison River customers. Following an investigation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Madison River last week agreed to pay the FCC US$15,000 and not to block VOIP services on its network.

Vonage, in Edison, New Jersey, has been an early leader in rolling out VOIP technology, which this week is bringing together about 240 exhibitors and 6,000 attendees at Spring VON. VOIP breaks up voice calls into data packets and sends them over IP networks, which usually allows for less expensive phone service and can enable advanced services such as unified messaging. Calls made on a VOIP service may travel over the broadband data network of a consumer's phone company or cable provider while bypassing that provider's own voice calling service.

Vonage was pleased with the FCC's action and how quickly it came, Citron said.

 Posted by vonage on Thursday, March 10 @ 00:31:03 EST
 (1614 reads)
Read More: Vonage CEO Citron Slams VOIP Blocking

 Vonage Tops 500,000 VoIP Subscribers

Vonage In Print News

Vonage Tops 500,000 Subscribers

March 9, 2005

By Staff

Vonage said that it has now topped 500,000 subscribers, with new subscribers signing up at a record pace. The VoIP provider said that new users are flocking in at a current rate of 15,000 per week, up 50% from the pace in the fourth quarter of last year. It said that it is now handling calls at the rate of 25 million per week.

If that pace holds up it is simple math to estimate that the company could hit the magical million subscriber number before the year’s out.

“In a very short time, we’ve proved that 2005 is the year of mass adoption for VoIP services, Vonage as the market bellwether has capitalized on this nascent trend,” said Vonage chairman and CEO in a prepared statement. “The exponential growth is real: there is no question as to whether VoIP or Vonage is here to stay.”

Separately Vonage said that it has selected Texas Instruments as its “preferred” provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) silicon and software. The pact is more of a marketing than a business deal, and simply “encourages VoIP equipment manufacturers to use TI’s VoIP silicon and software technology when developing products for use on Vonage’s broadband telephony network,” the two companies said.

 Posted by vonage on Thursday, March 10 @ 00:05:32 EST
 (1275 reads)
Read More: Vonage Tops 500,000 VoIP Subscribers

 Vonage Passes 500,000 VoIP Subscriber Mark

Vonage In Print News

Vonage Passes 500,000 Subscriber Mark

March 8, 2005

By Carolyn Schuk

Vonage's customer base has crossed the 500,000 mark, the Edison NJ-based company announced today.

The company reports that it added more than 300,000 lines in 2004 and continues to add 15,000 subscribers a week in 2005 - a growth rate of 50 percent over last year.

Vonage believes that these numbers mean that the VoIP is achieving mainstream acceptance.

"As more and more consumers demand better value for their communications dollars, we get closer and closer to the tipping point of this industry," Citron said. "In a very short time, we've proved that 2005 is the year of mass adoption for VoIP services. Vonage as the market bellwether has capitalized on this nascent trend."

 Posted by vonage on Tuesday, March 08 @ 23:00:00 EST
 (1190 reads)
Read More: Vonage Passes 500,000 VoIP Subscriber Mark

 Vonage And Nuvio Say Telecoms And Cable Companies Degrade VoIP Signals

Vonage In Print News

Vonage And Nuvio Say Telecoms And Cable Companies Degrade VoIP Signals

March 7, 2005

By Staff

Internet telephony firms praised Thursday's action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fine a small telecom for blocking Voice over Internet Protocol traffic, but said problems of keeping broadband networks open to all IP applications remain.

Over the last six months, both consumer VoIP provider Vonage and wholesaler Nuvio complained to the FCC about both telecom and cable broadband providers either blocking or degrading VoIP calls. In some cases, the providers offer their own VoIP service and in Vonage's and Nuvio's opinion are discriminating against unaffiliated VoIP companies.

Thursday, Madison River Communications of Mebane, N.C., which owns and operates four rural telephone companies in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Illinois, admitted no guilt in port blocking complaints brought by Vonage, but agreed to a $15, 000 fine and promised to drop the practice.

 Posted by vonage on Tuesday, March 08 @ 20:06:21 EST
 (2019 reads)
Read More: Vonage And Nuvio Say Telecoms And Cable Companies Degrade VoIP Signals

 Aided By Laptops, Internet, VoIP, Telework Gains In Popularity

Vonage In Print News

Aided By Laptops, Internet, Telework Gains In Popularity

March 6, 2005

By Diane E. Lewis

For six years, Pathlore Software Corp. of Ohio wooed Lee Maxey, but each time he turned down the company's job offers. Maxey, 41, didn't want to uproot his family to Pathlore's headquarters in Columbus.

But last year, Maxey finally accepted a position as Pathlore's chief learning officer. The perk that won him over? The firm said he could telework from the comfort of his Duxbury home.

Steve Thomas, the chief executive and president of Pathlore, said the learning management software firm realized that it would have better luck attracting the talent it needed if it extended its recruiting net to include the entire country, and offered new hires a chance to work from home.

"We need executives who really know the e-learning industry," said Thomas. "But you can't always find them in Columbus. The truth is that by the time someone reaches the level of experience that we are seeking, they're established and they don't want to move around. So, we made a compromise."

 Posted by vonage on Tuesday, March 08 @ 19:58:53 EST
 (1255 reads)
Read More: Aided By Laptops, Internet, VoIP, Telework Gains In Popularity

 VoIP: Plugging The Phone Into What?

Vonage In Print News

Plugging Into The Future

March 7, 2005

By Peter J. Howe

You're going to plug my phone into . . . what?

When it comes to marketing new Internet telephony services to consumers outside the first wave of bargain-hunting technophiles, figuring out a way to answer just how ''voice over Internet protocol" works is just one of a host of questions carriers are grappling with.

Besides offering unlimited calls around the United States for $25 a month or less, and dirt-cheap calls abroad, Internet phone service opens the gates to a host of cutting-edge services that few people even have at the office. One computer mailbox for voice mail and e-mail, software for making phone calls from a laptop, and ''find me" and ''follow me" services that ring home, work, and wireless phones from one number are just three of dozens of innovative -- but sometimes incomprehensible -- services Internet telephony enables.

As companies from AT&T Corp. to Zoom Technologies Inc. take up the challenge, their pitches generally fall into one of three camps: It's cheap. The features are cool. Or a mix of both.

 Posted by vonage on Monday, March 07 @ 23:00:00 EST
 (3134 reads)
Read More: VoIP: Plugging The Phone Into What?

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