IP Telephony news wrap-up for May 5 – 2006

In the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, a group of civil liberties and educational organizations made strong arguments today that VoIP services should not be subject to CALEA based on the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Jacob Lewis, an attorney for the FCC, was hammered hard by a judge on the U.S. appeals panel, as U.S. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards defined the arguments as gobbledygook and nonsense. The judge also added, When you go back to the office, have a big chuckle. I’m not missing this. This is ridiculous.

Lewis tried to explain his position stating that Congress intended to cover services that were functionally equivalent , but Edwards fired back: There’s nothing to suggest that in the statute. Stating that doesn’t make it so.

Other panel members were more open to the regulation. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle acknowledged that VoIP was very different than the PSTN but performed precisely the same functions.

VoIP service providers in the U.S. must provide the capability for law enforcement to wiretap calls by May of 2007.

The hearing, billed as 05-1404 Amer Cncl Educ v. FCC, was held earlier today to a 3-judge panel.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Skype has released a new beta version of its VoIP service. The new release includes support for moderated and unmoderated audio conferencing, supporting up to 100 users. The service has also added Outlook integration with the ability to call directly from Outlook’s contact list. Improvements were made to member registration, international dialing and the payment process.

Skypecasting has been established as a free service, developed to attract Internet users with similar interests.

Skype reports having 100 million registered users but doesn’t disclose how many of those accounts are actively used.

Later this month, AOL plans to launch AIM Phone Line Unlimited, a PC to phone service integrated with its instant messenger service that will enable users to place PC to phone calls (local, long distance and international) for a flat fee of $14.90 per month. The service will feature voicemail, call blocking, and ringback tones. All incoming calls must be received by the user’s computer.

John McKinley, the president of AOL’s digital services stated that Our priorities are all around AIM Phone. He declined to comment on AOL’s success in marketing its primary line VoIP service.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Technology Service has announced that agencies using MCI’s FTS2001 contract can now use the data circuit for placing and receiving IP based calls. GSA is an agency that procures products and services for government agencies representing more than one million workers.

Cisco Systems has introduced the Compatible Extensions program, in an attempt to attract partners to improve the features and functionality of its FMC solution, known in Cisco vernacular as a voice ready wireless network. The vendor’s FMC offering will be based on the company’s Unified Wireless Network. Some current partners include Intel, Nokia, and RIM.

Cisco Systems
Cisco Compatible Extensions Program
AirMagnet has introduced Vo-Fi Analyzer, a VoWLAN analysis tool for measuring performance, and identifying and resolving problems. The technology monitors every call from end to end, including both the wireless and wired segments.

Vo-Fi features auto generated alarms that define network problems and suggest responses. The new product also displays an analysis of real-time data in a VoWLAN such as QoS, jitter, and roaming. It calculates R values and provides MOS measurements. Vo-Fi also includes device analysis, mapping out connections, separating voice and data traffic and detecting potential device problems.

The analysis tool will be available in July. Pricing will begin at $15,000.

Siemens has introduced HiPath BizIP, a SOHO voice solution that uses switching intelligence within IP phones linked via a LAN to replace the functionality of a PBX. The system, which is designed to work with any SIP service, supports from 2 to 16 users.

BizIP supports standard phone features such as 3-way conferencing, speed dialing, caller lists, call diversion and call swapping, as well as advanced functionality such as voicemail back-up. The solution includes web administration and QoS support. Non IP devices can be connected to the system including analog phones, fax machines and door intercoms.

Visiongain has released VoIP in Europe 2006-2011: Market Analysis and Forecasts, a study that examines the enterprise and consumer sectors of VoIP and FMC. Detailed country forecasts are provided and discussed. The report also includes strategies and recommendations for fixed and mobile operators, handset vendors, hotspot owners and ISPs.

The firm forecasts residential VoIP usage to grow at a CAGR of 55.8% through 2011, yielding revenues reaching nearly $2 billion in 2009. The PBX market is expected to ship 19.4 million lines in 2009, accounting for more than $5 billion in revenue. By 2011, Visiongain projects that 98% of all PBX shipments will be IP based. Hosted IP telephony is projected to generate more than $1 billion in revenue by 2009.

A single user license is available for $2,762; a departmental license goes for $5,526; and a company-wide license is $9,211.


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