We all knew this was
coming�sooner or later sole VoIP providers would feel threatened by
telecoms offering both broadband and VoIP services combined. The issue
got all the way to the FCC desk�courtesy of a filing made by Nuvio
VoIP provider just made public that it filed an ex-parte letter with the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address and combat potential
discriminatory practices by broadband Internet access providers and
preserve competition in the Voice over IP
alert) claims that broadband
Internet access providers, who also offer VoIP services, have economic
incentives to discriminate against unaffiliated VoIP providers in favor
of affiliated providers.
Nuvio states that its purpose
for writing the letter is to raise awareness about the possible
endangerment that this alleged discrimination can pose on VoIP market
competition and likely harm consumers. Nuvio is also concerned about
rural ILECs possibly using discriminatory practices to artificially keep
VoIP competition from reaching rural customers.
As we know it, broadband
Internet access and the VoIP services virtually walk hand in hand�there
can not be one without the other. Nuvio says that broadband providers
may discriminate against unaffiliated VoIP providers in order to
increase overall profits and retain market share. Their letter urges the
Commission to exercise its Title I jurisdiction to preserve competition
by prohibiting discriminatory practices of vertically integrated
"Broadband providers have
nothing to lose and everything to gain from degrading the connection
quality of their customers who are using unaffiliated VoIP providers,"
said Jason Talley, president and CEO of Nuvio Corporation. "The few
customers they lose from discrimination is drastically offset by the
substantial increase in its VoIP subscribers, market share and revenues
from the practice.
"There is ample FCC and court
precedent for the proposition that the Commission has Title I authority
to regulate information services and is fully justified in exercising
its authority to prohibit anti-competitive practices. Such action is
both timely and necessary to guarantee a competitive market for VoIP
services and keep choice in the hands of the consumer."
This announcement makes me
wonder if other sole VoIP providers have these fears, and if so, then
why do companies like Vonage seem to be doing so well? I mean�do all hot
dog companies need to also sell buns to be successful?
|Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.