1. FCC Rejects Petition by AT&T to Not Tax PSTN-IP-PSTN Calls
In a unanimous vote last Wednesday by the FCC, AT&T’s petition filed in October of 2002 to have its PSTN to IP to PSTN calls free from interstate access charges was rejected. The FCC explained the AT&T’s PSTN-IP-PSTN process was not an information service, noting it (1) holds itself out as providing voice telephony or fax service; (2) does not require the customer to employ special CPE; (3) allows the customer to call telephone numbers assigned in accordance with the North American Numbering Plan and associated international agreements; and (4) transmits customer information without net change in form of content. Further, the FCC acknowledged the service provided no end user benefits, in terms of additional functionality or reduced prices.
3. Net2Phone Introduces Hosted Wi-Fi VoIP Services
Net2Phone has introduced a hosted Wi-Fi VoIP solution that will support residential telephony services, pefix dialing services and calling cards. The service solution will be targeted at wireless ISPs and wireline high speed data providers.
Net2Phone will route all calls over Wi-Fi networks to its SIP based platform, which performs call management, provides Class 5 features, billing, provisioning and enhanced services as well as distributes infrastructure required for interconnecting on and off the PSTN. Some examples of the system’s features and functionality include inbound and outbound calling with phone number selection, call waiting, caller ID, and voicemail.
IDT plans to use the hosted service for a Wi-Fi deployment in Newark, New Jersey.
Net2Phone intends to partner with cell phone and PDA manufacturers that will build products to support its technology.
5. Cablelabs Certifies & Qualifies More DOCSIS & PacketCable Gear
Cablelabs has awarded certification and qualification to multiple vendors for both its PacketCable and DOCSIS intiatives. In PacketCable testing, Arris was certified for a e-MTA. Qualifications were awarded to Nortel for a media gateway controller and to Siemens for a call management server. In DOCSIS testing, DOCSIS 2.0 modems were certified for Ambit, Askey, Castlenet, Shenzhen Coship, Motorola, and Thomson. Castlenet and Motorola received 2.0 re-certification. DOCSIS 1.1 certification was awarded to modems submitted by Electroline and Toshiba.
DOCSIS 1.1 and 2.0 modems have the capability of supporting VoCable services.
Cablelabs is expanding its labs. An extended product development area for PacketCable technology will be accessible in June.
7. Pennsylvania to Keep VoIP Services Deregulated
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to keep VoIP services deregulated, after investigating the issue for a year.
Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission
9. Bangladesh to Issue VoIP Operator Licenses Soon
The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission will issue VoIP licenses to private sector operators within the next few weeks. The licensing fee will be reduced from its current rate, to be comparable to fees in neighboring countries.
The cabinet approved deregulation of VoIP last November.
Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission
11. ShoreTel Unveils New IP PBX and IP Phones
ShoreTel, formerly Shoreline Communications, has introduced a new series of products including new IP phones, a new IP PBX, and an enhanced version of its systems software.
The new phones, based on MGCP, include the IP 210 ($229), a low end phone with a single line appearance; the IP 530 ($329), a phone with three line appearances, eight function keys, four soft keys and an Ethernet switch; and the IP 560 (429), a high end phone with six line appearances, designed to handle high call volumes and share call flows with others.
The phones employ a wideband 16-bit CODEC that increases the available voice channel from 64K to 256K, pushing the voice frequency range from one to three octaves.
The new IP PBX, the ShoreGear 60/12, supports 60 IP phones or 12 analog ports. It runs $2,995.
Enhancements to ShoreTel’s systems software, ShoreTel5, include the addition of more collaboration-enabling applications, additional fault tolerance capabilities, integration with third party voicemail systems and an increase in system wide user capacity from 5,000 to 10,000 users.
The new version includes support for 6-party add-on conferencing and call recording.
13. Navigata Launches VoIP Service in Canada
Navigata, a broadband service provider, has launched WebCall, a primary line residential VoIP service, in parts of Canada including Victoria, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Calgary, and Edmonton.
The service is offered via two packages. WebCall 400 provides subscribers with 400 minutes of long distance calling in North America for $29.95 per month. WebCall 1000 provides subscribers with 1000 minutes of long distance calling in North America for $39.95 per month. The calling region excludes Alaska, Northwest Territories and Hawaii. WebCall 400 and 1000 feature caller ID, call waiting, call hold, speed dial, area code selection, PSTN failover, and free calling to other Web Call subscribers.
Navigata plans to introduce a third package soon that includes a suite of more advanced calling features. The WebCall 1000 Plus package will include all of the features of the Web Call 1000 package, as well as a web client that supports advanced caller ID, advanced call waiting, call transfer, call screening, 6-way conference calling, call logs, video calling, instant messaging, presence, address book, and web push and co-browsing. The Plus package will be $49.95 per month.
Navigata intends to expand the service into several more markets in Western Canada.