The day after we put out a report, there's nothing that makes us feel better than hearing from our readers. Of course we love the ones filled with praise, but all notes are a reminder that you are reading the report and thinking about what we have said. The one we liked the best this month said: "I loved your newsletter today. I can't afford much outside training right now and you guys are so great at explaining technical things in "non-geek" ways." Thanks!
More on Vonage and SIP Telephony
Several folks from Commworks were visiting when the phone rang on our incoming Vonage line. Alick Wilson was calling from Wellington, New Zealand to test SIP telephony all the way around the world using his PC, XP Messenger, an analog phone with an Actiontec USB Phone Wizard, and a cable modem. We picked up on our conference phone and talked for several minutes. Afterwards, Alick wrote "At my end I found the call quality extremely good. Your voices were very clear, there was no background noise, there was no clipping, no noticeable latency, no dropout." At our end, the quality was pretty good part of the time, but some words had problems and there was definite clipping and delays. And the call dropped without warning.
Daniel Pentecost wrote to tell us about his experience with Vonage. He helps employees who work from home install Vonage in their home offices and said that he'd seen very different performance with different broadband connections: "On good DSL connections Vonage actually sounds better than our analog lines. On more latent connections, Vonage definitely sounds worse than a good analog line." He reports they've had "the best experience on Bellsouth and SBC (in former SW Bell territory). Our experiences with Verizon are either hot or cold with little inbetween - meaning it's either great or it's horrible. I haven't been extremely pleased with the results on any of the cable modems we've tried. We've tried it on Road Runner and AT&T Broadband. Road Runner tends to vary not only by market but also by neighborhood. Whenever possible we choose DSL over cable simply because we get the most consistant performance on DSL connections. Cable's ubiquity is alluring... but DSL's consistant performance is usually worth the hassle."
We'd love to hear from other readers on their experience with Vonage and other VoIP services.
Neil Smart, a long-time reader from New Zealand, wrote to point us to a recent talk in Australia by Ewan Sutherland, the Executive Director of the International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG), based in Brussels. The talk (see http://www.intug.net/talks/es_2003_03_rmit_text.html) covered the differences in broadband penetration around the world and how public policy decisions affect the availability, pricing and penetration of broadband.
Sutherland observes that some countries have much higher broadband penetration than others, and blames "metered broadband" for the low penetration in countries like Australia and New Zealand. We've always believed that charging for broadband on a metered basis - especially using "bandwidth consumption" as the meter - is sure to discourage adoption and use. The US LECs would probably have used a metered approach if the cable operators hadn't used flat rate - which has proven very effective in getting adoption.
In North America we expect to see various kinds of tiered pricing to cope with P2P, but we suspect the rates will be "effective flat rate" much like mobile phone pricing here.