ICG to Offer Internet Telephony in U.S. for Under 6 cents a Minute
ICG Communications has announced that it will provide an Internet telephony
service to 90 percent of the U.S. for 5.9 cents per minute. ICG is able
to offer the service to 166 U.S. cities due to its recent acquisition of
Netcom On-Line Communication Services, a U.S. ISP. Netcom has 13 hubs and
over 240 POPs throughout the U.S. The telephony service will be offered
to the company’s combined business customers as well as to Netcom’s 500,000
dial up customers across the U.S.
ICG is plans for its service to be operational by this winter. It is
expected to that it will pursue a partnership with major vendors such as
Lucent and Cisco. ICG plans to offer other IP services including VPNs and
Internet fax by year’s end. The service will be commercially available in
Q2 ’98. It will be sold over the Internet and though ICG’s telemarketing
ICG offers local, long distance and enhanced telephony over an optic
network to customers in California, the Ohio valley and parts of the
southeastern U.S. Through its subsidiary, Netcom, it also offers ISP and
web hosting services.
In a separate announcement, Netcom is planning to invest $30 million into
upgrading its network. The upgrades will include the addition of hubs in
Dallas, Boston, and New York and the conversion of analog dial up lines to
digital PRI. By December ’98, 100 percent of Netcom’s dial up access lines
will be converted to digital.
PlanetTel to Offer Internet Fax and Voice Services
PlanetTel, a global telecom, is planning to provide telephone to telephone
and fax to fax Internet telephony services. PlanetTel will offer services
in over 100 cities around the world. Users will not need to have a PC to
use the service as they will be able to use their existing telephones and
fax machines. An inexpensive dialer will be attached to the phone or fax
machine to enable calling and faxing.
PlanetTel is aiming the Internet telephony service at the emerging telecom
markets in developing countries. It plans to boost its QoS by limiting
usage of the phone to phone service. Developing countries will only be
able to send transmissions and developed counties will only be able to
receive. The fax to fax service will not be subject to limitations because
it will utilize store and forward messaging. Fax delivery will, however,
be guaranteed within 10 minutes of transmission.
PlanetTel plans to add desktop communications to its Internet telephony
services including PC to telephone calls, email to fax, and fax to email.
Conference calling and facsimile broadcasting capabilities will also be
added to the services.
Aplio Unveils a Device Enabling Telephones to Connect Over the Internet
Aplio has introduced Aplio/Phone, a device that enables traditional
telephones to use Internet telephony without the need of a computer. The
product houses a 32 bit microprocessor, a dedicated DSP chip for G.723.1
voice compression/decompression and a modem chip.
Aplio/Phone sits between a standard phone jack and traditional phone.
Using the keypad of the phone, the device is programmed with dialup ISP
information. To activate Internet telephony use, the user connects to the
desired party through the normal dialing process and then presses a button
on the device to initiate an IP connection. Users are disconnected and
each user’s device reconnects, establishing an IP call. During the
reconnect, the devices access Aplio’s IP-Finder server. Once the IP-Finder
has stored a user’s IP address, reconnects occur more quickly, skipping the
IP lookup process. The technology requires that both users have an
Aplio plans to add H.323 compatibility into its next generation product,
enabling communication between the Aplio/Phone and any H.323 compatible
Aplio/Phone is priced at $199.
VocalTec Acquires RADLINX
VocalTec Communications has announced the acquisition of the assets and
liabilities of RADLINX, a developer of standards based products for
real-time fax, email-to-fax and fax-to-email transmissions over IP
networks. The total value of the transaction is estimated to be from $7.5
million to $9.0 million depending on whether the deal is all stock, all
cash or a combination of the two.
VocalTec will add RADLINX’s PASSaFAX technology to its end to end IP
communications business solutions. The PASSaFAX system connects to
existing fax machines and corporate networks to route fax transmissions
over IP networks. The system routes facsimiles in real time and provides
confirmation that a fax has reached its destination.