IP Telephony news wrap-up for Jun 6 – 2007

The FCC, which has been historically soft on VoIP service providers, has recognized the market's maturity and is quickly applying regulations that previously applied to traditional telcos.

VoIP providers had until May 14th to comply with CALEA. The level the commission will enforce this regulation is unknown, but AT&T did shut down segments of CallVantage service where it wasn't compliant. Others out of compliance may be waiting for a slap on the wrist or shutting down services quietly.

The FCC, which has been historically soft on VoIP service providers, has recognized the market's maturity and is quickly applying regulations that previously applied to traditional telcos.

VoIP providers had until May 14th to comply with CALEA. The level the commission will enforce this regulation is unknown, but AT&T did shut down segments of CallVantage service where it wasn't compliant. Others out of compliance may be waiting for a slap on the wrist or shutting down services quietly.

Last year, the FCC ruled that VoIP providers that interconnected with the PSTN would have to pay into the Universal Services Fund (USF). Vonage challenged the FCC's authority on the issue as well as its formula for determining the tax. Last week, the commission dismissed Vonage's claim. U.S. VoIP providers will now be subject to a safe harbor contribution of approximately 64.9% of revenues. The fee, which providers will pass along to consumers, is expected to raise the average VoIP consumer bill by $1.30 per month, according to Medley Global Advisors.

Traditional telcos pay in 11.7% on long distance revenue and wireless providers pay 37.1%. The tax for VoIP providers was uniquely established based on the difficulty in identifying local and long distance calls within VoIP services as well as the calling behavior anomalies that exist among VoIP subscribers.

As the FCC was considering a proposal by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International to toughen geographic testing standards for wireless service providers to improve e911, the commission said higher standards should also be applied to VoIP service providers that offered service access from multiple locations. A final ruling wasn't issued, but the group is expected to make both wireless and VoIP providers subject to the same standards applied to call centers.

As if the new wave of regulations weren't enough, the FCC has also required VoIP service providers comply with disability access based on Sections 225 and 255 of the Communications Act. Under 225, providers will have to contribute to the Telecommunications Relay Fund and offer 711 abbreviated dialing for people with hearing or speech impairments. Under 255, providers will be required to provide consumer products that can be used and accessed by individuals with disabilities.

FCC
Silver Lake and TPG Capital, two private equity firms, have signed definitive agreements to acquire Avaya for $8.2 billion, representing the second largest telecom buyout, second only to Goldman Sach's acquisition of Alltel for $27.5 billion last year. Under terms of the deal, Avaya shareholders will receive $17.50 in cash per share of Common Stock, a 28% premium of the share price on May 25.

The agreement allows Avaya to consider other offers over the next 50 days. The only other interested parties on record are Nortel and Cisco.

The transaction is expected to close in the fall.

Avaya has a market capitalization of more than $7 billion with $829 million of cash and no debt. For its fiscal year, ending September 30, 2006, the vendor posted a net income of $201 million on revenue of $5.2 billion, with a profit margin of 4.2%

Avaya
Silver Lake
TPG
TMCnet has released its schedule of summer webinars, covering a variety of topics on IP communications. The lineup includes:

June 13: 2:00 ET – Keeping the Customer First Thru Unified Communications
June 14: 2:00 ET – How to Deliver New Voice Services: Revenue Enhancements for Carriers
June 19: 2:00 ET – The New Formula for VAR Success in the SMB Market
June 21: 2:00 ET – Considering a Hosted Contact Center Solution
June 27: 2:00 ET – 64-Bit Architectures for Apps with Memory Centric Data Management

TMCnet Webinars and Registration
Toshiba America Information Systems (TAIS) has introduced MicroMas, a new small business version of its Strata media application server. The server is compatible with all Strata CIX systems, but operates optimally with the CIX100 and CIX40, which support 72 and 24 users, respectively.

MicroMAS is offered in two models incuding a HMP IP-based one that supports two 1-port fax modem boards for 2 ports of fax and another Dialogic-based system that supports up to two 4-port D4PCIU Dialogic boards.

The server supports a wide range of applications such as auto attendant, voicemail, VCS 2.0, fax, unified messaging, automated speech recognition, text to speech, IVR, ACD and reporting, 3rd party CTI apps, Info Manager apps, eManager system admin, My Phone Manager user admin, eMonitor system monitoring, and customization tools.

In a separate announcement, TAIS unveiled a new voice mail circuit card for its CIX100, 200, and 670 systems. The new card supports up to 8 voice ports in 2-port increments. Systems using the card can support 40 hours of voice storage for user greetings and messages, allowing up to 10,000 total messages. Up to 360 mailboxes can be supported.

The card also provides record and store capabilities for individual stations.

Toshiba
IP xStream, the online resource for the VoIP industry, has introduced The VoIP Blog Feed, an aggregated content feed that displays and links the last 50 blogs published on the Internet that refer to VoIP. The feed provides a quick glimpse at trends and subjects that are capturing the interest of the blogging community.

The VoIP Blog Feed is a supplement to the popular EverythingVoIP, which provides an unfiltered source of aggregated news and articles on VoIP, covering both the market and the technology. The feeds pool content from thousands of sources, providing a comprehensive and current snapshot of industry news and views.

The IP Pulse serves a very specific function of briefing the industry on major developments that have transpired over the week, states Robert Arick, founder of both IP xStream and the IP Pulse. However, for a certain segment of the industry, there is a demand to track everything that is happening in VoIP – as it is happening. With our latest news and views feeds, we have eliminated the need to go to multiple sites or compile a huge RSS reader. Furthermore, it is exciting to be able to go one place and discover the current state of the market by seeing both what consumers and analysts are saying about VoIP. This new feed represents the true marketplace buzz.

The IP xStream VoIP community web site provides extensive compilations of VoIP news, market data and resources as well as free services. The site is home to the IP Pulse, the longest running VoIP publication and PoP SHoP, a trading post for termination services.

IP xStream
VoIP Blog Feed
EverythingVoIP
Microsoft has introduced the 2007 release Office Live Meeting, unveiling a few new capabilities such as support for live video, VoIP, and rich media. The rich media refers to the RoundTable system's support for 360-degree panoramic video. Security for the conferencing system is based Forefront, which employs a new virus scanning method.

All of the new features of Office Live Meeting will also be available for on-premises conference systems through the upcoming release of Office Communications Server 2007, which is now in public beta.

The new Office Live Meeting release is scheduled to be available in the fall of this year.

In other company news, Microsoft will be using Verizon Businesses' SIP Gateway Service to support free click to call dialing (PC to phone) to advertisers listed in search results from the company's www.maps.live.com search engine.

Microsoft
Verizon Business

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