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Johanne Torres[September 15, 2004]

Nuvio Calls it Discrimination


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 Corporation.


Kansas-based 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 (VoIP) (define - news - alert - tutorial) market.


Nuvio (news 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/VoIP providers.


"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?


Nuvio Corporation



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 jtorres@tmcnet.com.


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