Access Power to Deploy Cisco’s Equipment
Access Power reported that it is planning to deploy Cisco’s IP telephony gateways in its existing VoIP network. In addition, the provider plans to design and develop new products/application based on the Cisco platforms, and use the products to further develop its PC to phone Net.Caller technology and VoIP ecommerce service, e-button. Both the Net.Caller and e-button service are based on VocalTec’s IP telephony software technologies.
Net.Caller users can download a client application to place calls from any PC in the world to traditional phones in select markets. The provider offers two calling plans for the service: a European plan that allows users to place an unlimited amount of calls for $20 per month from any PC to any phone in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland Luxembourg, the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada and Puerto Rico; and a U.S. plan that allows users to placed an unlimited amount of calls from any PC in the world to a phone in the U.S., Puerto Rico or Canada for $10.
The e-button is a web to phone ecommerce communications application. It enables web site visitors to click an icon to initiate PC to phone VoIP communications with a customer service representative. The Java applet based technology (under 800k in size) automatically installs on a users PC when the icon is clicked. Once connected, the customer service rep can assist the customer in finding information about products and services by steering the visitor’s web browser, jointly viewing web pages and completing transactions. The provider offers the solution for $5 per month/per customer service representative, with a $300 annual minimum.
Access Power also offers a flat rate phone to phone IP telephony service that allows subscribers to place an unlimited amount of calls to and from any traditional phone in the continental U.S. for $49 per month (calls placed to Alaska, Canada or Hawaii are charged an additional 7 CPM, and calls placed to international markets are billed an extra 29 CPM).
Ursus Deploys Cisco Gear to Interconnect With Czech Telecom
Ursus Telecom said that it has deployed Cisco’s 7000 line of Core and Edge Routers to interconnect its IP network with Czech Telecom’s network. Last month, the companies entered into an agreement, in which Czech Telecom will terminate Ursus’ VoIP traffic in the Czech Republic. Czech Telecom has approximately 4 million telephone lines deployed serving both residential and corporate customers throughout the market.
In addition, Ursus has recently deployed Cisco’s gear to redesign its New York and Fort Lauderdale POPs (as well as the entire network) to handle an increase of well over 10 million minutes per month in voice traffic, which it expects as the usage of its VoIP service, theStream.com, increases.
Ursus Telecom provides international telecommunications services including long distance, direct-dial, value-added and Internet telephony in over 45 countries. The company operates switching facilities and POPs Sunrise (Florida), Frankfurt, Lima, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg and Tokyo. TheStream.com services are based on Netscape or Internet Explorer plug-ins that allow users to initiate calls. The provider also recently began deploying Nortel’s equipment to expand the capacity of the network. In addition, it has landed a deal with Global Crossing, in which it will to use bandwidth on Global Crossing’s worldwide networks to expand the reach of the services.
In other news, Ursus Telecom reported that it has secured $7 million in a private equity financing deal with Tail Wind Fund. According to the terms of the deal, Tail Wind purchased 615,115 newly issued, unregistered shares of Ursus’ common stock, and a five-year warrant for 279,998 additional shares at a strike price of $15.3956. Per the agreement, Ursus will register the shares with the SEC. The provider plans to use the funding to market and expand its Internet telephony services and network, and for general working capital.
SaveCom to Terminate Taiwanese Traffic for Phonecalls.com
Phonecalls.com, a Tianrong Internet Products and Services (TIPS) subsidiary, has announced that SaveCom International USA will terminate VoIP calls placed to the Taiwanese market from Phonecalls.com’s web based Internet telephony service. SaveCom is in the process of building a network in Taiwan, which is expected to be operational later this year.
Phonecalls.com is in the process of developing a VoIP offering that will consist of offering prepaid Internet telephony phone cards from a network of web sites that will enable users to place calls to select Asian markets via partnership termination agreements. Users will be able to place calls via the calling cards as soon as the cards are registered and paid for at Phonecalls.com’s web site.
The web site and service is expected to be operational this month.
In other news, China based 3Jet Network E & S and Phonecalls.com have expanded an earlier agreement in which 3Jet will terminate VoIP traffic for Phonecalls in China, to include 3Jet originating IP telephony traffic for Phonecalls.com’s web based Internet telephony service.
SaveCom International USA
Tianrong Internet Products and Services
3Jet Network E & S
Information Highway Developing VoIP Services
Information Highway.com announced that it has successfully completed the testing of its analog VoIP technologies and is planning to begin developing the digital technology for the service. The company has contracted with Inglenet Software, a Vancouver based software developer, to design and install the digital phase of the VoIP offering.
Information-Highway is planning to offer a no charge, unlimited IP telephony service to the users of its regional web communities, dubbed the Executive Club. The club, which will be subsidized via ad banner revenues, will allow users to access online information about local events, news and weather forecasts, stock quotes, online trading, web searches, multicasting and shopping. The provider is in the process of developing the Executive Club into a global community by offering to design and maintain individual communities for regional ISPs in exchange for a share of the advertising and ecommerce revenues generated.
The Executive Club
Pacific Gateway Launches Wholesale VoIP Service
Pacific Gateway Exchange (PGE) announced that it has launched a wholesale V/FoIP termination service, VoIPNet, based on equipment from Cisco, Clarent and Nuera. The provider will route traffic on a global basis using its own networks and the Internet backbone of its subsidiary, Onyx. The company plans to use its proprietary Call Agent technology to bill for and validate all traffic routed over the network.
PGE and Onyx operate networks with over 40 POPs in 21 cities and 15 countries. The carrier has international gateways facilities in Auckland, Dallas, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Sydney and Tokyo.
The firm also plans to launch retail Internet telephony services sometime this year.
Rio Communications Developing NW U.S. VoDSL Network
Rio Communications, a voice and high-speed data service provider, reported that it is planning to deploy equipment from AccessLan, CopperCom, DTI Networks, and Woodwind Communications to build a VoDSL network. The provider is in the process of building an infrastructure consisting of an ATM based backbone, with OC-12 SONET ring, and broadband access technologies to offer converged voice and data services over a DSL infrastructure. The company initially plans to offer the calling (both local and long distance) and data services to hospitals, colleges, small businesses and multiple dwelling units in Oregon (Eugene, Roseburg and Medford), with plans to expand the offering throughout the Pacific Norwest U.S. region.
The services are slated to be commercially available by the end of summer.
Starvox & HP Team for Turnkey VoIP Systems
StarVox said that it is planning to configure its IP telephony business software solutions to run on Hewlett Packard’s (HP) computer telephony servers. HP will then market the turnkey VoIP systems to its customers.
EmpowerTel Receives $54 Million in Financing
EmpowerTel Networks announced that it has received $54 million in funding from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Venture Partners, Sony Corporation, Chase Capital Partners/Access Technology Partners, L.P., D.B. Alex Brown, Anschutz Investment Company, Sandler Capital, InveStar Capital and TeleSoft Venture Partners.
EmpowerTel Networks was recently created by Lara Technology to focus on the company’s VoIP systems. The new entity’s initial product offering, which is expected to be released sometime this quarter, is the Unified Services Exchange (USX1000). It is expected to be a carrier-grade VoIP switching system that can support communications between IP and TDM based PSTN infrastructures, enabling users to offer voice, video, data and fax services.