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FCC Fines Company for Blocking Access to VoIP 294

Posted by Zonk
from the strike-one dept.
peg0cjs writes "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. The complaint was made to the FCC by two companies Vonage Holdings and Nuvio, which specialise in VoIP services. It appears that Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron was willing to act on his earlier tirade about VoIP blocking." From the article: "The action is seen as a warning to other telcos not to prevent the growth of VoIP over their networks. Many of these companies see VoIP as a threat to their landline revenues as calls made over the internet can be made to anywhere in the world for the price of a local call."
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FCC Fines Company for Blocking Access to VoIP

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  • by southpolesammy (150094) on Friday March 04, 2005 @02:57PM (#11846315) Journal
    It's not the size of the fine, but the precedent it sets that is important here.
  • by therevolution (525890) on Friday March 04, 2005 @03:03PM (#11846386)
    Somebody's been reading Cringely's latest article [pbs.org]...
  • by SoVeryWrong (576783) on Friday March 04, 2005 @03:20PM (#11846577)
    The Quality of Service server is in your home, not running at your ISP. It pushes up the priority on data sent and requested from your home, so if you're downloading something it won't make your phone sound like shit.
  • by PepeGSay (847429) on Friday March 04, 2005 @03:21PM (#11846586)
    There is a common misconception that the origianl issues with blocked VoIP calls originated at the ISP level. Let me repeat: "It did not occur at the ISP level.". It was blocked inside the phone network of the Telco, which is entirely different on many many levels. This precedence is unrelated to your ISP's regulation of your ports.
  • by Mark Shewmaker (29292) on Friday March 04, 2005 @04:04PM (#11847111) Homepage
    Seriously, can my girlfriend complain to the FCC about this?
    Even better, she could set up her mail client to connect to her external server via the mail submission port 587 rather than the (blocked) mail relay port 25.

  • Re:Fine Money? (Score:4, Informative)

    by The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) on Friday March 04, 2005 @05:24PM (#11848096) Homepage Journal
    The regulatory offices are included in the budget and they total around 29billion worth of spending. However, they usually levy enough fines to pay for themselves and then some. If you look at the federal income statement there is a section for revenues from regulations (though they don't explicitly call it that). Pretty much, it suppliments your tax dollers for such programs so that beurocrats (non-elected officials) can spend more.

    The whole idea of regulations, while necessary because corporations always try to defeat them, are kind of circular. We are paying to protect ourselves...from ourselves!

  • by Big_Al_B (743369) on Friday March 04, 2005 @05:35PM (#11848213)
    I'm a network engineer and planner for a VoIP provider, and despite years in this business, I have no earthly idea what you're calling a "QoS server".

    You are, well, "so very wrong" about what goes on with popular consumer VoIP products like Vonage.

    Vonage uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for call signalling and service feature delivery. Media Terminal Adaptors (MTAs), often also referred to as Analog Telephone Adaptors (ATAs), adapt analog voice media into Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) media streams which get encapsulated in User Datagram Protocol segments and then finally encapsulated in IP packets.

    Which of those protocols provides "QoS" service? None, in Vonage's world anyway. Even if the MTA set a higher DiffServ Code Point or higher IP Precedence in the IP header, the consumer-grade broadband router will ignore it, and most intermediate ISP routers will ignore it too.

    The ISPs that pay attention to QoS are likely to rewrite any DSCP or IP Prec setting inbound at their edge, unless contractual agreements state otherwise. You don't let untrusted entities flood your priority queues; it's bad for business.

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