Saturday, March 05, 2005

FCC Fines Company for Blocking Access to VoIP

According to PCPro, the FCC has handed out a $15,000 fine to Madison River Communications Corp for blocking access to VoIP calls. The action is seen as a warning to other telcos not to prevent the growth of VoIP over their networks.

Nice to know that somewhere at least the govt. is looking out for the consumer. The Pakistan govt. in earlier times used to do the exact opposite of the above - now with the introduction off the broadband policy, does anyone know if things have changed for the better? When I got a DSL connection at home, I had to sign a paper saying I would not use VOIP. Now, I was planning to use VOIP so I asked someone at Cybernet, and they sorta jumped when I asked them about VOIP so I said fine fine I'm not going to use it and completed the paperwork. Needless to say, it works just fine, and with a good headset the voice quality is better than a mobile phone call, and sometimes as good as a landline.

At work, with our DSL connection they specifically said that VOIP is not allowed. It works, but it's illegal to use it.


Merlinx said...

That's very true. You cannot use VOIP services in Pakistan without authorization from PTCL. As a matter of fact, Cybernet was one of the first companies in PK to run into trouble with the govt. for the usage of VOIP telephony.

Domestic usage of VOIP is absolutely prohibited. Commercial usage is ONLY allowed IF you are involved in the export of s/w or ITeS outside of Pakistan. Then you can use VOIP after getting registered with PTCL.

Even then you are not allowed to multiplex data and VOIP over the same communications connection. You need to have separate Internet connectivity lines for data and voice. A lot of people have been raided in the past, but commercial setups only, for operating unauthorized VOIP services especially PCOs.

Most people use VOIP in PK unwittingly without knowing the laws behind it. PTCL doesn't usually go after domestics in my experience, but commercial users might find themselves in trouble by violating this.

AllahBaba said...

Digressing a bit, don't get me wrong, KO (I appreciate your activism for a better net usage very much), but I just hope a vocal minority using Broadband doesn't undermine the quality of internet service received by thousands of poor dialup users just because they're not the new ISP elite customers anymore. Not everyone can/will afford DSL, even if it reaches 1000 rupees per month unlimited download. Experience shows that firms will do anything to silence or satisfy a bad p.r. generating vocal subscriber but will continue to take the silent customers for a ride.

I just hope dialup users are not forgotton to be addressed amidst this 'broadband' frenzy (which is and will be only a small, though priviliged, subsription foothold for some good time to come).

KO said...

The end goal is that everyone should have access to broadband. There is no reason broadband has to be more expensive than dialup. At 500 Rs. a month, broadband can be cheaper than dialup. Coupled with a cheap router, it can be easily shared with the neighbours to futher lower costs. See below:

India's state-run telecom giants have launched what they describe as one of the world's cheapest broadband services.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) are offering existing fixed-line customers 256 kilobits per second (kbps) broadband connections for 500 rupees ($US11) a month, much less than the existing 1500 rupee offer.
There are even cheaper services avaiable in places like Japan and South Korea. Costs for everything in these countries are far higher than Pakistan - the only thing more expensive here is the international bandwidth, and that is due to the Pak govt. In the long run, there is no earthly reason internet prices should be so much higher than other countries here.

yasirmemon said...

Everyone who can, WILL continue to use their broadband connection for VoIP services even if the government goes on blocking VoIP sites and subnets in a brute force manner.

The reason behind the enforcement of the said law is not at all to bring the dial-u-users a better speed but to increase the profits of the state owned PTCL.

I think there is already enough competition in the local ISP market that the ISPs will get in more bandwidth if VoIP becomes a hinderance.

Today, Pakistan is among the most costly dialing destinations from US, UK and other countries.

This is the time when PTCL should be setting up VoIP servers to make foreign nations dial us at through the internet and vice versa instead of imposing restrictions even on outgoing calls...

ISPs will automatically upgrade their bandwidths when they see competition for quality.

Aay Dee said...

Ah..but I am sure very soon any govt selected firm will launch Internet telephony legally (i.e. VoIP)- like the same that happened with Broadband first; I am afraid if someone named it "GO-VoIP" :)
anyway, check this out