April 28, 2005

Rogers-Primus Technical Issues?

According to Rogers Cable's Michael Lee, there are problems with Primus Canada's VOIP software – which could account for QoS issues. QoS is becoming a bigger issue as VOIP service providers such as Vonage complain their packets being blocked to de-prioritized by broadband network operators. Lee said there are no regulations to stop this kind of behaviour, and currently no plans to implement packet prioritization policies. It is interesting Lee gave Rogers with some wiggle room in the future to do tiered service if push comes to shove. While it's tempting for a carrier or cableco to favor their own applications and services, the best product should be allowed to rule the roost. If Rogers' VOIP service, which will come out by “mid-year”, can't compete with Vonage, then Rogers needs to improve its offering. The silver lining for any network provider is the consumer has to pay them for the broadband connection, which gives the provider the opportunity to promote Web-based services and applications, including voice.
On another VOIP note, PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff is getting some flack and some praise for a column he wrote on why he doesn't have VOIP at home. He cites reasons such as 911 access, local number portability and the chance of a power outage. While I have VOIP in my office, I haven't switched over in my home. Why? Perhaps the biggest reason is the cost of telephone service is reasonable in Canada so I haven't been totally swayed by the marketing messages of VOIP yet. Another reason is the aggravation of switching carriers given how busy our lives are these days. While I can keep my existing number, I'm not sure my wife would be thrilled if we had to survive on using a cell phone until our number was ported over.

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