Vonage Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

I hope the FCC will act swiftly to nip this in the bud -- ISP's have no more business blocking customers' access to certain VoIP providers than they do blocking access to competitors' web sites. I mean, just as a hypothetical, suppose that Comcast or Charter took it upon themselves to block customer access to SBC or Verizon web sites because they didn't want you to read about the DSL offerings from those companies? Soon we'd be back to the bad old days of walls between providers (think Compuserve and the original AOL). At the heart of it, VoIP is just data, and once you allow companies to start blocking certain types of data based on content or destination you are going down a very slippery slope. And before anyone mentions it, e-mail is a special case because of the spam problem, and even with e-mail there are ways to tunnel around an ISP's port 25 block if you have legitimate access to another mail server.

Not concerned yet? Well consider this -- suppose your web page was hosted on a particular ISP, and suddenly one of the large ISPs took a notion to start blocking access to web sites hosted on selected competitive ISPs. Of course, their solution would be to open an account with them and move your web site to their servers. Now what happens when two or more ISPs do this? Pretty soon the entire Internet as we know it falls apart, and I don't think I'm being overly dramatic in saying that -- I have seen just too many examples of corporate greed destroying the good things of life to think that it could not happen that way.

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February 14, 2005 Vonage Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

Company has complained to the FCC that competing service providers are "blocking" its Voice over IP service.

By Paul Kapustka Advanced IP Pipeline

BOULDER, Colo. -- Leading Voice over IP service provider Vonage Holdings has complained to the Federal Communications Commission that competitors are blocking the use of its service, according to FCC staffers and others close to the company.

In a speech during Sunday's Silicon Flatirons conference here, Stanford law professor Larry Lessing said that Vonage has been telling the FCC that other service providers are hampering Vonage's VoIP service by "blocking" it from reaching certain SIP addresses for end-user devices. Reports of other providers using networking techniques to block competitors' VoIP services have surfaced before, but none have involved Vonage or major U.S. service providers.

Robert Pepper, the FCC's chief of policy development, was at the Silicon Flatirons conference and confirmed that Vonage had complained to the FCC about blocking issues, but did not comment further. Brooke Schulz, Vonage's senior vice president for corporate communications, said Monday that the company would not comment on the report.

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Jack Decker
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