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VoIP Backlash From Phone Companies 281

Posted by Zonk
from the free-calls-can-cost dept.
denis-The-menace writes "An article from the online edition of IEEE Spectrum says phone companies in France, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have announced they will block VoIP calls on their networks. Using new software from Narus Inc., the carriers can detect data packets belonging to VoIP applications and block the calls. Gotta love Ma Bell." From the article: "Narus's software does far more than just frustrate Skype users. It can also diagnose, and react to, denial-of-service attacks and dangerous viruses and worms as they wiggle through a network. It makes possible digital wiretaps, a capability that carriers are required by law to have. However, these positive applications for Narus's software may not be enough to make Internet users warm to its use. 'Protecting its network is a legitimate thing for a carrier to do ... But it's another thing for a Comcast to charge more if I use my own TiVo instead of the personal video recorder they provide, or for Time Warner, which owns CNN, to charge a premium if I want to watch Fox News on my computer.'"
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VoIP Backlash From Phone Companies

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  • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:32PM (#13848156) Journal
    Heh ... I couldn't even RTFA with 0 comments posted. *Sigh*.

    Question for the knowledgeable: could VOIP companies invoke the WTO for anti-competitive practices?

  • Bell? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thu25245 (801369) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:33PM (#13848166)
    phone companies in France, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have announced...Gotta love Ma Bell.

    Which RBOCs would those be? BellFrance, German Bell, and Mideast Bell?
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:33PM (#13848167)
    .... Some phone companies in Canada are tying to brand their services so that they don't sound like they're VoIP because of the negativity associated with these services.

    http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/ArticleNews /TPStory/LAC/20051020/TWVOIP20/TPTechnology/?query =voip [globetechnology.com]
    • How sad... If they only dropped their long distance rates people wouldn't care about "digital phone". I don't see what difference the underlying medium makes to their costs at all. Meanwhile primus has introduced a new long distance package that's as cheap as vonage. I can have primus phone service and unlimited North american long distance for $53 CDN so why exactly do I need a VOIP service on top of that? $53 - $27 for the phone service makes the long distance portion of that $26. Vonage charges $39.
  • by markana (152984) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:34PM (#13848175)
    As if it wasn't on the way anyway...

    The carriers will then have a choice: let the encrypted traffic through, or restrict their customer's Internet use to only approved (and monitored) traffic.

    It will be interesting to see which option various countries choose...
    • by Edmund Blackadder (559735) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:40PM (#13848239)
      The thing is, if you decide to ban encrypted traffic, you may as well say goodbye to internet commerce. All on-line purchases are done trough secure connections. I don't think any western country is going to ban encrypted traffic anytime soon. Online sellers are well established and they won't let it happen.
    • They could then just add some jitter to any unrecognized (i.e. encrypted) traffic, thus making the connection useless for any two-way voice streams. They don't have to block the connection entirely, and most services are not interactive and wouldn't notice the difference.
    • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:41PM (#13848246) Homepage Journal
      Skype is encrypted and P2P. Yet they can still block it.

      Also, if your VoIP service ever uses real phone lines, the telco can easily block it.

      If this happened in the US, though, it would be an illegal abuse of their monopoly powers. When they start censoring certain data, they lose their common carrier status as well, so they become liable for all the child porn, viruses, illegal movie downloads, etc. that they transfer. Probably not a road they want to go down.

      However, I guess cable companies in the US aren't common carriers, so they can (and do) block other VoIP. Someone needs to sue them for this -- it's absolutely ridiculous. When you break part of the Internet, you aren't an ISP anymore. You're a Content That We Cram Up Your Ass Service Provider... just like cable companies are already.

      Personally, I use Speakeasy DSL which does nothing but route bits to and from my machine. That's the way the Internet should be!
      • by Nogami_Saeko (466595) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:51PM (#13848345)
        Skype doesn't use random ports and protocols does it? It needs to handshake the two programs before the encrypted data transfer starts, which probably makes it relatively easy to block at the router level.

        That said, it shouldn't be impossible to masquerade VOIP data as something like a first-person shooter data stream (many of which have voice-chat already integrated), or by some other means that would result in the ISP/Telco blocking legitimate users as well and raising their angst level.

        Fighting technology is a losing proposition for conventional telcos, so they better find a way to work with users rather than against them...

        N.
        • would result in the ISP/Telco blocking legitimate users as well

          Are you suggesting that VOIP isn't legitimate?
        • As you say a number of FPS's have voice built in. So if they shut down VOIP what's to stop people from just using games ONLY as chatting mechanisms?

      • Skype is encrypted...
        It still uses RTP as the protocol though, doesn't it? Though the payload may be encrypted, the packets are probably easily identified by that protocol.

        A more insidious approach would be for the ISP to "traffic shape" and drop every nth RTP packet -- it wouldn't take much to degrade voice quality.

      • By way of latency. little more than 300milliseconds, and you can kiss VoIP goodbye. This is a problem I'm having using VoIP thru cable. I'm going to switch to DSL and see if it fixes the problem and delivers quality such that I don't get complaints.

        If the cable companies introduce latency on purpose to disrupt VoIP I could see that it could result in a litigation, but what if it just happens to be inherent in the network? Or could be made inherent? With high latency, you don't break the internet, y
      • Skype uses their own encryption method and is a black-box.

        Use SSL/TLS for encryption and let 'em work on weeding out THAT traffic from regular e-commerce and other SSL connections.

          -Charles
    • restrict their customer's Internet use to only approved (and monitored) traffic.

      Not hard to do in Saudi Arabia.

      • Heh. I'll bet that encrypted VoIP is already in use in Saudia Arabia. The ruling class there has a lot of phone traffic that they really don't want tapped.

        Rather, they'll try to strictly control who is allowed to use encryption. That way, they can spy on all the little people, while the little people (and media, police, etc.) can't spy on them.

        Similarly in quite a lot of other countries.

        I keep wondering why our current rulers here in the US don't seem to be trying to force us to drop ssh and go back to t
    • Use Google's VPN [google.com] and the telco won't be able to detect the VOIP. Of course, the NSA^H^H^HGoogle will be listening in to your call, but hey, you can't have everything...
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:36PM (#13848191) Homepage Journal
    Heineken will end TV adverts in the UK due to perception of declining connection with the core market, 18-26 year olds. It was mentioned on the BBC World Service that a possible further consideration was the use of Sky+ and TiVo which allow viewers to skip commercials. It could also be that the core group spend more time on the internet than watching TV.

    So less return on television advertising, thanks to the evolution of technology, and what future does this have for television entertainment, if the place to advertise isn't the tube? Product placement, I suppose. Let's have a surreptitious party on the show with people having what is undeniably a very good time and feature Heineken cans/bottles, perhaps have an actor say, "this Heineken beer is excellent, much more flavourful then other leading brands."

    Harlo Wilcox, Don Wilson and Bill Goodwin, your kind we shall meet again.

    • You know, I think that while advertisers in some situations have gotten more annoying, in other ways they've gotten smarter. 10 years ago, I highly doubt anyone would have yelled to me (while I'm getting a snack during a commercial break, etc) "hey, come back here and check out this *product X* commercial, it's hilarious." I've seen some commercials for products such as Molson Canadian that were often more entertaining than the shows.

      Sadly, Molson will no longer make the "I am Canadian" ads since they joi
      • Yesterday i saw a new Geico commercial while fast forwarding and actually stopped rewound watched it, called the wife through and watched it again.

        If advertizers would have spent the cash to create decent, entertaining, and memorable commercials then we'd have less need for tivo and they'd be doing a lot better right now.
    • At a recent seminar at my University there was a demonstration of some video processing software. The actors in the clip (a short section of Friends) were wearing plain T-shirts. The guy then added on a logo, and then they all had Nike shirts. Then Addidas. It was very well done, and he could add logos te anything (cars, walls -- anything).
  • Good bye ma bell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by canuck57 (662392) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:39PM (#13848215)

    They have been ripping us off for years because of their monopoly. Now they must compete or dye. Me, I already don't use the local telco and haven't looked back.

    Good bye ma bell.... don't need you.

    • Now they must compete or dye.

      What does "To take on or impart color" or dye [answers.com] have to do with VoIP? I think the proper word should be "Die" or cease living [answers.com]is really what you're after here. I don't mean to be picky, but that made me feel weird when I read it. It had to be corrected... Thank you.

    • And what color would this 'dye' be? ;-)

      More seriously... Sure, you don't need Ma Bell... Until you try to dial 911 for a heart attack or some similar nastiness from your VoIP line, and the call ends up in a dispatch center three states over. Seconds really do count in an emergency, and trying to get the call back to the right place is going to eat plenty of them.

      And how about that cool VoIP phone? Works great... as long as you have AC power handy. No, much better than the old POTS phones, which were not at
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:39PM (#13848220)
    For instance, Cox Cable @Home explicitly says "No VPNs", but many users do anyway. It would be a simple matter for them to block IPSec traffic, or even regular UDP/500 traffic. (yes, there are SSL VPNs, blah blah blah). And you couldn't complain, because you signed the contract.

    In other countries, not even Soviet Russia, there are State-owned Telcos, which have implicit or explicit Terms of Service. I'm sure the Telco in Saudi Arabia says things like "no porn, no homosexual activity, nothing critical of Islam" etc. They ALSO probably say "no VoIP".

    Don't like it? Don't use the service... oh wait, you have to, because its a State owned monopoly. Oh well, strive for political change then.
    • The actual process for EULA reform seems to be:
      • company publishes crazy EULA, and actually enforces it
      • technical press notes insanity, writes story, warning readers to avoid product
      • non-technical press reprints the story
      • company realises the story hasn't reached most end cusomters yet, but it's only a matter of time, so they change quickly change their EULA
      • ... process repeats every time a company starts enforcing crazy EULAs

      Until a company actually enforces a EULA, it's still a somewhat theoretical pr

    • Cox doesn't actually block VPN? Cool, I thought they did. I might have to start using that instead of forwarding a dozen ports over SSH.
    • by jd (1658)
      SSL is a mechanism that allows you to tunnel a protocol (usually HTTP) through another protocol. All a VPN is is a logical separation of two traffic streams, which means SSL is arguably a VPN mechanism. That must be a bummer for all those online shoppers. The same would be true of DNSSEC, so I hope nobody is getting trustworthy DNS records. IPv6 tunnels and MBone tunnels would certainly fall under that categorization.

      In other words, the policy bans virtually everything that anyone ever actually does. It wou

  • # ping -f narus.com
  • Wasn't there recently a /. article about a court case that ruled that ISP's can't block access to certain sites because they 'compete' with said ISP?

    Besides, if you like foxnews, comcast is the most people get is already, albeit over cable tv, not internet.

    I really hope we don't see this deterioration of the internet, though.

    Jerry
    http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]
    • I really hope we don't see this deterioration of the internet, though.

      Please bear in mind that Germany, France, et al. are the same countries that are trying, through the UN, to forcibly take control of the internet's root servers.

      I'm not trying to start a flame war, but I do want to emphasize that the structure of the internet today makes it very easy for powerful organizations (governments, in particular, but telcos in this case) to regulate and control the flow of information, no matter how legitimate.
      • Please bear in mind that Germany, France, et al. are the same countries that are trying, through the UN, to forcibly take control of the internet's root servers.

        To forcibly take control? They are questioning the status quo and are trying to persuade the world that it should be handled differently. It is their right to do this, and there is no force involved.

        Also, please note that the article has nothing to do with the states of France and Germany. It mentions two cell phone companies, SFR and Vodafone, whic
  • by strider3700 (109874) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:40PM (#13848238)
    I thought all of the phone companies qualify as common carriers and are not responsible for whats on their networks because they can't and shouldn't control it. Now that they have filtering ability for somethings they should be charged for every copied song and every piece of child porn moving on their wires.
  • by Strudelkugel (594414) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:41PM (#13848252)

    Today's Wall Street Journal Online [wsj.com] also has an article. It discusses the attempts US domestic carriers are making to block third party services, as well as limiting file sharing and other "hi bandwidth" uses. Fortunately the FCC has prevented the major carriers from blocking independent VOIP providers, but Europeans evidently have a different view, which is weird since our consumer internet connectivity sucks compared to theirs, let alone Asia.

    Just shows what an overpriced cash cow voice is now.

    • Just shows what an overpriced cash cow voice is now.

      Of course. At 64kbps (if that) a 1 minute voice call is less than half a maybebyte. My ISP charges 1 EUR / gigglebyte over the limit, and that's plenty rich. This means that, in a transparant market, 2000 transcontinental voice minutes should cost less than 1 EUR.


  • If they try to do this, you can be sure that the competition authorities will slap and fine them over it. Complain as you will about EU or national authorities, but as we've seen with Microsoft ruling, they are quite active on anti-competitive issues, and a teleco that tries to block VOIP so as to ensure the the customer has to use the telco services and can't choose to use a lower priced alternative service will find itself in lots of trouble.
  • Wiretaps? (Score:3, Funny)

    by slashmojo (818930) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:44PM (#13848277)
    It makes possible digital wiretaps, a capability that carriers are required by law to have. However, these positive applications for Narus's software may not be enough to make Internet users warm to its use.

    Wiretaps are a positive feature for users? No doubt governments/law enforcement get very warm and tingly over wiretaps but I can't see users warming to it quite so much.

    Now spyware on the other hand, thats something that really does get users hot and bothered! ;)

  • VoIP calls? How can the entire country say that they're going to block VoIP calls? What good can it possibly accomplish? I'm curious why any of you think they may do this? Are they wanting to get a piece of the pie and then allow the calls? This just confuses me. I realize business doesn't want people to have it's products or services for free, but to shut down a phone network to people who say couldn't afford to call their family in Germany so they get Skype and then can use voice to communicate is redicul
    • VoIP calls? How can the entire country say that they're going to block VoIP calls? What good can it possibly accomplish?

      Here in Australia the main telco [telstra.com] is majority owned by the Federal Government. The share price is crashing because if people getting VOIP or mobiles and this is impacting Government revenue forecasts.

      Currently we have a whole lot of anti terrorist legislation about to be passed, with some features which take rights away from normal people suspected of being terrorists.

      If the security ser

      • If they block the well known applications, the terrorists will just revert to using homegrown stuff. Seriously, all they have to do is have an encrypted message end to end. Pass the stuff over SSL to rouge web sites. Not like they can start blocking all the SSL traffic.
  • Good encryption should prevent a third party from determining any information about the payload. Bury all the protocol details in the data, initiate the session with a completely innocuous public-key encrypted exchange of symmetric keys, and proceed.

    If carriers want to block all encrypted traffic, well...that's a whole different problem.

    • The problem is, how do you tell the difference between encrypted data, and random data, or image files containing encrypted data, or anything else for that matter? I don't think enough processing power in the world exists for blocking everything that may be encrypted. Unless they only allow you to pass uppercase ascii characters around the internet. And even that can be bypasses. Base 26 encoding anyone?
  • by certsoft (442059)
    Ebay just paid how much for Skype, like 3 or 4 billion? I wonder how long before Skype and others figure out a way around the detection algorithms.
  • I was under the impressiont that skype could not be blocked, since the packets are all encrypted and contain no identifying information.
  • by theCSapprentice (921974) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:54PM (#13848371)
    Check out Narus's homepage...http://www.narus.com/ [narus.com]

    Now tell me that a company certified for China's National Networks is who we want to secure the general internet. Its almost as if they are saying YES to censorship and control. I'm not saying security is a bad thing, but pick how you do it with care...

    • Thanks for link, I noticed a far more interesting thing that whole company could be fake or Korea is having sort of secret contracts with major spammers.

      "Huh?" you would say... It says:

      "Mountain View, Calif., September 26, 2005 -- Narus, Inc., along with its channel partner Datacraft Korea, today announced that KT has expanded its network's security with use of NarusSecure. As part of Datacraft's TAPS system, NarusSecure now enables security coverage across the majority of KT's nationwide network."
      http://ww [narus.com]
  • by johnjaydk (584895) on Friday October 21, 2005 @05:55PM (#13848376)
    Telenor (old Norway monopoly) tried blocking Skype and failed in a big way. The customers revolted and wanted Skype unblocked. Telenor had to reverse and unblock Skype. Major publicity bummer.

    I work in one of these oldfashioned phone companies. Due to our location international charges is a large part of our intake. Therefore we dont like Skype much. In fact we'd like this whole VoIP thing to be un-invented.

    We tried looking into blocking and it's bad karma all the way. Trust me, the old guys loved the idea but the publicity would kill us. In the end we have to do VoIP ourself. Better to loose business to yourself than to somebody else. This of course provides me with interesting work so I'm not complaining ;-)

    • In fact we'd like this whole VoIP thing to be un-invented.
      I hope you can still seperate your personal and your company's opinion!
    • For informing us that the bell(s) are beginning to see the light. One of the first things they could do to prevent migration to VoIP is to include all the extra features like caller ID and other value added features in with basic phone service. VoIP is the future of telecommunications. It runs on data networks, and we all know data networks aren't going away anytime soon.
      • Re:Thank you (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gregmac (629064) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:22PM (#13849493) Homepage
        One of the first things they could do to prevent migration to VoIP is to include all the extra features like caller ID and other value added features in with basic phone service. VoIP is the future of telecommunications. It runs on data networks, and we all know data networks aren't going away anytime soon.

        That is definately a good idea. Another would be to reduce or remove long-distance charges. Although there are various companies that charge lower long distance (many I'm sure using Voip), this needs to be much more widespread. I don't know how long-distance charging works, but it needs to be much more like how tier-1 ISPs peer for free with each other. If it already is, then it's just pure profit for them.. so they'll have to be willing to take a cut in that profit to prevent losing it altogher.

        What would be even better would be to blur the line between VoIP and POTS. Provide digital service (even voip) right from the CO, then throw it on the TDM network. Provide some of the benefits of VoIP (multiple concurrent calls, digital signalling (ie, instant caller id)) without the problems that VoIP has on the internet (latency, outages).

        At my small business, we use VoIP internally for our phone system, but also as a backup line. We have 3 voice POTS lines, which all hunt from our main number. The last one hunts to a VoIP 'wholesale' (no voicemail, call waiting, etc services -- our phone system does that stuff) number, where we can accept as many calls as we have bandwidth (and we have a decent chunk of bandwidth). We also use the VoIP line for outgoing long-distance calls, or if the POTS lines are all used up. This effectively gives us "unlimited" call handling capability, for much much much less than it would cost to have 3 or 6 or 10 more phone lines. We just pay a littler over a cent a minute, plus a couple dollars a month for a DID (local phone number). The phone companies have a way to go before they're going to be able to match that and that's probably what has them scared.

        Of course, blocking VoIP seems very dumb. If my ISP was my phone company, and they blocked my VoIP calls, my response would be to get a new ISP -- not say "oh well, I guess I'll just pay more for a less-capable analog phone line". Not only are they driving away voice customers, but they're driving away their internet customers as well.
    • "Better to loose business to yourself than to somebody else."

      Damn right. Adapt or Die.

      Or, you know, lobby yourself into immortality, but that only means a slower, prolonged death.
  • How is this software doing this? I mean, by reading about this I am imagining some form of stateful packet inspection. Wouldn't such inspection compromise the speed of the whole network? I remember such ideas being bandied about a long time ago for "detecting" pirated software transfers and such, but I also remember the argument being that it couldn't be done without compromising the speed of the entire network. Does it work like QOS routers, but in software? I am just curious how they are doing this withou
  • Anyone interested in forming an open source non-profit to get the ball rolling on this wireless mesh hardware to replace the internet?

    I can type 85 WPM and answer phones!

  • Maybe I didn't read through the article well enough but what about calls that only go over the internet will these be blocked as well?
  • by dslauson (914147)
    The only phone service in my house is Vonage. If my ISP were to try to block or restrict that, you'd better believe I wouldn't be switching over to their phone service. I'd be getting a new ISP.

    So, if it's an all (buy their phone service AND their internet access) or nothing kind of thing, from me they'll get nothing.
    • "The only phone service in my house is Vonage. If my ISP were to try to block or restrict that, you'd better believe I wouldn't be switching over to their phone service. I'd be getting a new ISP."

      If they blocked your VoIP, couldn't you just report them for preventing your access to 911 on that connection?
  • steganography (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoFoQ (584566) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:15PM (#13848551)
    This will probably lead to some sort of packet steganography and encryption which will make digital taps harder to do and "the terrorists will win."

    Of course, spoofing the packets to look like non-VoIP packets might be a workaround.

    It's all a cat-and-mouse game until someone files a lawsuit.
  • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:23PM (#13848611)

    FTA...

    "But there's nothing that keeps a carrier in the United States from introducing jitter, so the quality of the conversation isn't good," Thomas says. "So the user will either pay for the carrier's voice-over-Internet application, which brings revenue to the carrier, or pay the carrier for a premium service that allows Skype use to continue. You can deteriorate the service, introduce latency [audible delays in hearing the other end of the line], and also offer a premium to improve it."

    Couldn't the FCC requirements [slashdot.org] that VoIP provide access to 911 emergency services be used as a legal precedent against carriers from degrading VoIP services in the US? If Vonage got in trouble [slashdot.org] for it, then any company that interferes with the call should be liable as well. Even if it isn't outright blocking the call, artificially deteriorating the quality could prevent proper communication in an emergency and endanger lives. Even jitter and latency in the call could possibly mean the difference between life and death in a critical situation.

  • VPNs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xrayspx (13127) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:27PM (#13848648) Homepage
    We need a free ad-hoc P2P VPN application. As the call is made, you make a temporary VPN to the remote end with some throwaway key that is agreed upon programmatically and encrypt all packets, when the call ends, it gets torn down. For VOIP calls the encryption wouldn't have to be great, but if we could run the call through even a single DES end-to-end VPN, that would take care of the phone companies terminating the calls.

    Call quality can suffer over a VPN, but with a high-bandwidth connection, one call won't make a bit of difference, 20 or 30 calls might be a problem.

    I'm not saying the encryption SHOULDN'T be great, but compared to a regular phone, I mean, I can stand outside your house and clip two alligator clips to the box and hear your regular phone calls...

    • Re:VPNs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glomph (2644)
      You are correct, but the nature of the session will have to be COMPLETELY free of any characteristic signature, or this evil Nazi-box will be able to block it. It will also have to be totally independent of a unique 'mothership', because THAT would be trivial to block. The earlier suggestion of SSL on port 443 sounds pretty good, but that is TCP traffic, which sucks under many circumstances for voice.

      I run phone calls across the world through CIPE tunnels (UDP) for corporate security between internal off
  • Clarify (Score:3, Informative)

    by dslauson (914147) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:32PM (#13848689) Journal
    Something TFA didn't make as clear as they could have-

    The article is referring to phone companies that also have an ISP service trying to block voip data from travelling over their internet service.

    That's as opposed to not allowing their land-line phone customers to recieve voip calls.

    It just seemed like some people were confused.
  • (censoring company www site, http://www.narus.com/about/investors.html [narus.com] )
    ___
    The Intel Communications Fund is a $500M equity investment fund that invests in technology companies developing innovative networking and communications solutions. The fund supports development of technologies for Intel® Internet Exchange(TM) Architecture, telephony applications based on CT Media(TM) and wireless and cellular solutions built around the Intel® Personal Internet Client Architecture and the Intel® Xsc
  • A much better strategy was already covered [slashdot.org] by slashdot a few months ago. The telcos just need to make other VoIP solutions suck, via COS (Class of Service). Then no one can get mad at them and they can roll out their own high quality VoIP solution.

    --
    The Switchboard [theswitchboard.ca] - the free browser based internet phone
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday October 21, 2005 @06:50PM (#13848822) Homepage
    Check http://www.narus.com/press/index.html [narus.com] , don't buy any service from company who is their client.

    Its much more than Skype, SIP blocking people. If a company is using their products, they are watching everything. Check their products page.

    http://www.narus.com/solutions/IPanalysis.html [narus.com]

    They brag about Telecom Egypt using their software/platform, they have rather interesting banner "bragging" about "Certified for China's national networks".

    I would switch my cell phone, ISP immediately if they are using any of this companies products.

    Its not Skype only.
  • The EU has vigorously promoted competition in the telecom business, with significant success so far. As for ISPs blocking VoIP calls in France, for instance, fat chance. Most ISPs already offer free local calls [adsl.free.fr] with multifunction ADSL modems. I understand the article refers implicitly to call phone carriers; but you have to keep in mind that those currently are under investigation for price fixing. That would be a very stupid way for them to quickly get the anti-monopoly agency and the telecom regulation ag
  • Taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsotha (720379) on Friday October 21, 2005 @07:13PM (#13849004)
    My suspicion is the reason they're getting away with this has more to do with the fact that POTS is a cash cow for governments as well as phone companies. Here in the US state governments are terrified [internetnews.com] of VOIP because they count on POTS for a not-insignificant portion of revenues.
  • eg Japan, there isn't one provider that doesn't give you VoIP with a real telefone number, etc etc and really low charges. I mean, really low ones ... So there is no need for me to call with Skype ...
  • by QuebecNerd (924754) on Friday October 21, 2005 @08:31PM (#13849549)
    Quite the oposite from France... Here in Québec, The two major Telcos wich are Bell Canada and Telus and the two major Cablecos wich are Videotron and Cogéco are all offering VOIP as we speak.

    Since they are offering the service, I guess they would be very stupid to block it... Talk. about shooting yourself in the foot.

    Today, companies are fighting any way they can to remain relevant in today's world. They can do that in two ways; Making the right moves at the right time to stay relevant like for example Koday did in the face of digital photography nearly 10 years ago OR forcing their clients to consider them relevant by screwing them when they don't have a choice (FOR NOW) like the RIAA and the CellCos do.

    Sufice to say that this can only last for a given time and people remeber who screwed them...

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