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Access Power Launches NetMeeting Based Service
Access Power announced that it has launched and unlimited, no charge PC to phone VoIP service, FreeWebCall.com. The service is based on the NetMeeting client, and will enable users to place calls from any PC in the world to traditional phones in Canada, the UK or the U.S. It also utilizes Cisco's AccessPath-VS3 IP telephony gateway units to route calls to the destination telephones via Sprint's networks.

Net2Phone & Rhythms Team for VoIP/DSL Offering
Net2Phone said that it is teaming with Rhythms NetConnections, a provider of broadband communication services, to develop DSL connectivity for its IP telephony services. According to the terms of the deal, Net2Phone will provide Rhythms with an IP voice solution including hardware, services, billing support and customer services, and Rhythms will bundle access to Net2Phone's services and market the technologies to its distribution partners.

Crys-Tel & Pedro Forne & CIA Form VoIP Entity in Uruguay
Crys-Tel Telecommunications.com announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pedro Forne & CIA (PFCIA) of Montevideo, Uruguay, in which the entities plan to form a Uruguayan based firm, Crys-Tel Uruguay, that will focus on offering VoIP services. According to the terms of the deal, PFCIA will provide the entity with telecom licensing, and Crys-Tel will provide with international connectivity. In addition, Crys-Tel will own 51 percent of the new entity, with PFCIA owning the remainder.

IPVoice.com Deploys VoIP POP in Phoenix
IPVoice.com said that it has expanded its IP telephony network and services to include a POP in Phoenix, with plans underway to deploy an additional POP in Miami. The provider recently launched the Internet telephony service based on its own high-density IP telephony system, SuperConnect, deployed in New York City and Los Angeles, and expanded the network to include additional POPs in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas.

Palestinian Telecom to Offer Startec's VoIP Services
The Palestinian Telecommunications Company (PTC) reported that it has signed an agreement with Startec Global Communications, in which it will both originate and terminate IP telephony traffic to and from Startec's networks.

CableLabs Gearing up for PacketCable Compliance Testing
CableLabs reported that its has successfully completed a second round of interoperability testing based on the interim specs it released last year. The event was primarily focused on firming up the proper test environment and initial compliance test plans (just released in draft form) that will be used to gauge the compliance of products with the specifications.

China Netcom to Route Traffic Over iBasis & GRIC
China Netcom has announced that it is planning to use both iBasis's and GRIC's interconnectivity networks to route Internet telephony services. According to the terms of both deals, China Netcom will route both voice and fax traffic over the both interconnectivity provider's networks, and terminate calls in select Chinese markets.

China Netcom provides IP based communications services including voice, video, fax and data.

IETF Teams With Vendors to Develop Signaling Quality Protocol
The IETF said that it recently teamed with several vendors including 3Com, Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Performance Technologies (MicroLegend), Sun, Telcordia, Trillium, S-Link and Siemens to test IP based products and connectivity using Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP), a protocol that is being developed for signaling quality reliable transport via IP technologies. The protocol is being designed to add support for signaling to IP traffic, such as support for SS7 technologies.

China Telecom to Use Startec's VoIP Network
China Telecom reported that it is teaming with Startec Global Communications to develop VoIP services. According to the terms of the agreement, China Telecom will use Startec's IP telephony network to route both voice and data communications between its markets China and select markets throughout Canada, the UK and the U.S.

China Telecom has more than 120 million fixed telecommunications lines in operation throughout the People's Republic of China.

JITONG & GRIC to Interconnect Networks
JITONG Communications has announced that it is planning to use GRIC's managed QoS GRICphone network and inter-domain clearinghouse service to expand its VoIP connectivity on a global basis. According to the terms of the deal, JITONG will route traffic over GRIC's network, and terminate traffic for GRIC's alliance of IP telephony affiliate providers.

GRIC's network and services have more than 360 participating provider members that can provide connectivity to over 150 countries.

JITONG & Sovintel to Join iBasis' VoIP Interconnectivity Service
iBasis has announced that both JITONG Communications and Russia based Sovintel are planning to route Internet telephony services over its global VoIP network. According to the terms of the JITONG agreement, JITONG will route both voice and fax traffic over the network and terminate calls for iBasis' interconnectivity service in select Chinese markets. Sovintel will also route both voice and fax traffic over iBasis' network and terminate traffic over its fiber networks in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

China Mobile to Route Traffic Over iBasis' VoIP Network
China Mobile Telecommunications (China Mobile) has announced that it is planning to use iBasis' Internet telephony network to offer services. According to the terms of the deal, China Mobile will route both voice and fax traffic over iBasis' network on an international basis, and iBasis will route traffic to China Mobile's infrastructure for termination.

China Mobile's infrastructures are established throughout all of China's markets and 96 of its counties.

Access Power to Route eCommerce Traffic Over Sprint's Networks
Access Power said that it is planning to interconnect its network with Sprint's Internet and voice backbone to route traffic from its eCommerce VoIP service. According to the terms of the agreement, Sprint will provide Access Power with access to its networks for web enabled calling services and U.S. domestic terminations. It will also provide Access Power with access to its international and global frame relay networks.

FreeWebTel to Launch VoIP Service
FreeWebTel announced that it is teaming with Globix to develop an Internet telephony network throughout the U.S. and Europe. According to the terms of the deal, Globix will provide FreeWebTel with an array of web hosting services including space to collocate VoIP gateways throughout its fiber network. FreeWebTel will also use capacity on the fiber network to route calls on a global basis.

The companies are currently beta testing the service, which is expected to be launched on a no charge basis as soon as possible.

Stonehenge Teams With KPNQwest to Expand VoIP Networks
Stonehenge Telecom has announced that it is planning to use bandwidth on KPNQwest's 45Mbps DS3 network to route VoIP traffic between its POPs. According to the terms of the EUR $3 million agreement, Stonhenge will lease bandwidth to interconnect its POPs in Brussels and London, and KPNQwest will develop a 45Mbps IP transit ring via Qwest's U.S. fiber backbone that will connect Stonehenge's operations in Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

Priceline Teams With Net2Phone, deltathree & ZeroPlus for Service
Priceline.com reported that it has teamed with Net2Phone, ZeroPlus.com and deltathree.com to launch a section at its web site, Priceline Long Distance, that enables users to bid for blocks of long distance calling time. The section will allow users to bid for blocks of calling time to any market in the world in increments of 60 minutes.

I-Link & Red Cube Team to Develop Global Services
The Red Cube Group reported that is planning to license and deploy I-Link's Gate Link VoIP technologies throughout its existing European networks. The companies also intend to interconnect their respective networks to exchange traffic. According to the terms of the agreement, Red Cube will initially pay I-Link $20 million for technology licensing, consulting fees and prepaid revenues, and both providers will explore joint development opportunities with other providers.

U.S. House of Representatives to Vote on VoIP Access Charges
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on an amendment to bill HR 1291, which extends the non-taxation of Internet access services through 2006, but includes a subsection that could allow for access charges to be levied on Internet phone services irrespective of the type of customer premises equipment used in connection with such services.

The floor vote on this bill is slated for Tuesday, May 16th.

H.R.

Symbol Installs VoIP Wireless Network for BJ's Wholesale
Symbol Technologies reported that it has completed the initial phase of installing its wireless VoIP technology at BJ's Wholesale Club locations. The installation included upgrading BJ's existing wireless LAN to Symbol's 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 compliant wireless LAN backbone solution, Spectrum24, and VoIP enabled NetVision Phone systems.

The H.323 compliant NetVision Phones are capable of simultaneously supporting both voice and data over a single wireless backbone or LAN.

China Telecom to Use Clarent's Gear to Build Domestic Network
China Telecom said that it is expanding a purchase agreement with Clarent to include additional equipment that it will use to build a VoIP network throughout China. The companies reached an initial agreement last year, in which China Telecom's IDD division is deploying Clarent's gear to develop an international VoIP service that is based on prepaid calling cards. The new agreement calls for China Telecom's Data Communications division to deploy equipment to develop two domestic IP telephony services.

China Unicom Teams With deltathree for Service
China United Telecommunications Corporation (China Unicom) reported that is planning to offer deltathree.com's IP telephony services to its traditional and cellular phone subs in China. China Unicom will initially offer VoIP calling cards that will enable users to access its network to place calls. Domestic calls will be routed over China Unicom's network, and international calls will be transferred to deltathree's global network, at an H.323 compliant Shanghai hub, for termination.

Comlink to Deploy Nx Networks' VoIP Technology
Nx Networks, a joint venture between Netrix and Open Route, announced that Comlink Switching is planning to deploy its IP telephony technology to provide VoIP services. According to the $2 million agreement, Comlink will initially deploy Nx's Network Exchange 2210 model gateway in the Los Angeles/Mexico City link of its network, with plans to deploy addition equipment and technology to expand its network throughout the U.S.

The 2210 can provide VoIP or VoFR capabilities.

CableLabs Completes First Round of PacketCable Testing
CableLabs reported that it has successfully completed the first round of PacketCable interoperability testing based on the interim specs it released last year. The testing event, which occurred in early March, primarily focused on assessing the test environment and executing initial compliance test plans. It included a group of 17 vendors that tested 5 different test platforms to assess protocol, voice quality and the test plans.

Protel to Use iBasis to Offer Services in Mexico
Operadora Protel, S.A. (Protel), a Mexican national carrier, announced that it will interconnect its network with iBasis' Internet telephony network to route both voice and fax traffic over iBasis' network and terminate traffic in its markets.

iBasis' primarily Cisco equipment based Internet telephony network includes a NOC in Burlington, Massachusetts, Internet central offices in Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New York, London, and POPs throughout Asia, Europe, Korea, the Middle East and South America.