Thursday, May 18, 2006

Skype's Master VoIP Plan

Yesterday I tested Skype's new 2.0 version, mainly because they just announced they will allow Skype-to-Landline (US and Canada) calls for free.

I tried it by calling the office. They said I sounded very clear. I then tried it by calling one of our remote sales reps. They said I was choppy at best.

Will I be throwing out my landline at home and using Skype for VoIP calling at home? Not likely, as my fiancee holds on to the main telephone for dear life, as if we'd be wiped off the grid if we got rid of it. If it were up to me alone, I'd say sayonara to Cox.

Skype shows a lot of commitment by offering this service for free. I was a bit afraid they'd get swallowed by the Ebay consumer commerce monster and be used exclusively as a conduit for buyers and sellers.

Here's an excellent article I found on Digg.com:

Skype's Net Neutrality gamble: we'll be so big, they can't stop us

Excerpt:
James Bilefield, head of Skype's European operations, has a plan for combating telecommunications companies eager to do away with Net Neutrality: get big. As companies such as AT&T think about cashing in on a "tiered Internet," which would include "opportunities" for consumers to pay extra for the "guaranteed delivery" of data, companies such as Skype are worrying if their business models can withstand an assault from the commercial Internet infrastructure.

But that's not the only concern. What if Internet Service Providers decide to just block Skype altogether? More than a few companies are working on commercial solutions to block Skype and other VoIP-traffic, hoping to find early adopters among state-run telecommunications companies and security-conscious businesses.

Skype's battleplan is simple. If their user base is large enough, companies will think twice about tampering with Skype traffic. When Brazil's biggest telecom pulled the plug on Skype, the outcry in the country was big enough that the decision was soon reversed. Bilefield said, "The community has the power to change things."

Nancy Gohring's report from VON Europe conference in Stockholm indicates that worries about VoIP aren't going anywhere. While VoIP may be great for consumers' pocketbooks, it's not great for the corporate purse. "Our existing cash flow is being challenged," said Joacim Damgard, VP for broadband and fixed services at TeliaSonera. It's not hard to see why. VoIP calls are considerably cheaper than land-line alternatives in almost every case, sometimes by an astounding margin. In the United States and Canada, a new Skype promotion will even see free calling throughout the region for the rest of the calendar year.
..end excerpt.

Author: Ken Fisher

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