Russell Shaw, ZDNet Blogs – March 1, 2006:

Two weeks ago, a Vonage Forum Member named rdstoll began a Vonage Forum thread called Comcast vs. Vonage. The last time I checked, this thread had 116 posts and nearly 7,000 page views. That’s an exceptionally high number.

Although you will see all manner of opinions on this thread, there seems to be a sentiment that – politely put – Comcast could really be doing a better job of carrying Vonage bits.

There’s not much of a leap from that belief to one, expressed by some Vonage Forum Members, that the connection quality problems they are having over their Comcast lines just might not be coincidental.

“Well, Comcast is doing their own VoIP service in some areas now…. considering they have a competing product at a higher price…. well, you can be the judge on it,” a Forum Member named VonageTPA adds.

And in a related story…

New York Times – March 2, 2006:

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, will introduce new legislation today that would prohibit Internet network operators from charging companies for faster delivery of their content to consumers or favoring some content providers over others.

The bill is meant to ease growing fears that open Internet access may be blocked or compromised by the Bell phone carriers and cable operators, which may create tiers of service for delivering content to consumers.

“You best compete by letting every company play on a level field, but these proposals would tilt the field,” Senator Wyden said of the plans discussed by some network operators. “The Net has been about access and equal treatment and giving everyone a fair shake, and people who own these fat pipes, these cable and telecommunications people who say that they can’t keep doing this, want to undermine that.”

  1. Michael says:

    That helps to explain a lot. three weeks ago Comcast launched their own VOIP service in the Seattle area. Since that time my Vonage call quality has dropped noticeably. I now allocate the maximum amount of outbound bandwidth (90 kbps) that Vonage with very limited success.

    At first I thought the problem was related to some torrents I left open for several days.

    This along with the AOL/Yahoo proposed email fee and the tiered pricing structure that bellsouth and Southwestern Bell propose do not indicate a very rosy future for internet users.

    What happened to that Google dark fiber plan?

  2. James says:

    Hasn’t Comcast had voip phone service for years? I had it before I realized how much more it was costing me than an SBC line. Then I got vonage, ’cause it’s even cheaper.

  3. site admin says:

    Can Skype and GoogleTalk be far behind?

  4. Eideard says:

    James — Comcast has only had VOIP where it previously existed within an acquisition. Elsewhere, they promise they’re “working on it”. Some major metros, they’re starting to introduce it — therefore the reports above.

    I have 1 friend who has Vonage and Skype [to talk to me] and he’s been getting cut-off, once or twice a day, in recent weeks. It happens at least once a week when we’re talking on Skype.

    By the way, there is at least one US-based firm, Verso in Atlanta, that produces software for sale to Telcos — to block Skype altogether. It’s called NetSpective.

  5. I was dealing with packet losses using Gizmo with Comcast — still am to some extent. Comcast is a poor company anyhow — their customer service is a joke, just like their dated account website. They care nothing for the techies in the group — which is a shame, I thought we were the ones who always wanted the latest and greatest? I’ve been looking at alternatives, they recently raised my cable bill 20 bucks in a month, with no new features, and still the same trash dynamic IP. I can get better internet from someone like speakeasy, though it may not be faster, it’s surely smarter and more secure… the tv, I’m hoping the internet will just change that and comcast can stop choking me. I’ve already dumbed it down to basic cable.

  6. Mike T says:

    Regarding the bill that was introduced to stop this BS…..

    I can assure you all that it won’t be long before money and the cable industry kill this. Greed — whether it be that of the cable company or that of the Senate — will win in the end.

    You don’t HONESTLY think that they are going to start looking out for the consumer now do you?

    RIM would have been shut down by now if the government didn’t rely on the crack berries so much.

    Mike T

  7. gquaglia says:

    Mike T, you are very correct. Look what the RIAA and MPAA money has bought in congress. Once Comcast’s wallet opens up, it will be companies like Vonage that will out in the cold and out of business.

  8. doug says:

    Vonage and the other VOIP companies better get their wallets out as well and buy themselves into the lobbying game. they probably can’t outbid the telcos, but I know a company that could.

    too bad their motto is “don’t be evil” ….

  9. Matt E. says:

    #2 Comcast did not VOIP until recently. You are confusing their Digital phone service with voip. Digital phone was basically a POTS connection from coax. Basically the their phone signal was “Pulse Code Modulated” or PCM over an analog carrier wave.

    That’s not VOIP, where the voice packets are sent over an IP protocol.


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