Archive for July 2008

Consultants helping SMBs with VoIP.

July 28, 2008

 A new study finds small businesses are bringing in outside help to figure out VoIP buying decisions.

In research conducted by The Brookside Group, companies found that buying a phone system had become a much more complex task. SMBs expect more out of the systems they choose, so they’re increasingly reaching out to consultants to help them make the right choices.

Likewise, consultants are depending more on revenues from VoIP, with more SMBs coming to them to help in phone system decisions. Companies are trying to decide between IP PBXes and hosted solutions, plus expressing more of an interest in unified communications and being able to bring in a broadband network capable of supporting IP telephony.

Companies believe using a consultant will help them save money on a phone system/service purchase and potentially help them out with a specific new technology or service. A consultant can conduct a needs assessment, evaluate and choose vendors, and even go so far as to write RFPs and assist in contract negoiations.

Consultants are also moving into deploying and managing phone networks on an outsourced basis, due to their involvement with network design and configuration.

Top verticals seeking help include (in order) health care, banking and finance, local and state government, and education. Lawyers and accountants also rely on consultants for phone system help.

VoIP-News: How Consultants Help SMBs Choose VoIP Systems.

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Telcos go to court over municipal fiber.

July 28, 2008

 The city of Monticello, Minn., wants an FTTH network to help attract new residents and businesses. So it went to its local telco, Bridgewater Telephone, and asked them to build one. The answer? No.

So, the city decided to go it alone. It held a referendum on the issue, got the support of 74 percent of the townsfolk for the $25 million project, and lined up the municipal bonds it needed to move the plan forward.

Then, it ran into a roadblock: Bridgewater sued to keep Monticello from building its FTTH network, saying issuing bonds for the proposal would be illegal. It’s an argument other telcos are trying to use to block muni-FTTH, so far with little success, which bodes well for Monticello.

Telecom service providers have gone on the offensive in a broad effort to stop–or at least delay–municipalities planning to build public fiber optic networks to compete for Internet, telephone and cable dollars.

“It’s a national playbook,” says Patrick Ottinger, general counsel for Lafayette, La., where the city has had to buck two lawsuit filed by BellSouth and Cox Communications in its effort to build a $125 million broadband system. “The longer they delay things, the better for them.”

Telecoms, meanwhile, say municipalities have an unfair advantage with access to public monies and no need to return a profit.

“You can’t use your powers as a city to create an uneven playing field,” said David Goodnight, who’s represented Qwest in fights with numerous cities.

Legal Technology: Telecoms Sue Over High-Speed Links.

Georgia city contracts with Clearwire.

July 28, 2008

 
The Milledgeville, Ga., city council has voted to contract with Clearwire for a muni-WiMAX network as an outgrowth of Clearwire’s efforts to build WiMAX in nearby Atlanta. In 2006, Milledgeville received an $862,000 grant from the Georgia Technology Authority through the Wireless Communities Georgia program to turn the city into one of several model communities to show the benefits of using wireless access to improve economic development, educational access and governmental services.

The service will be a subscription-based model with many varying pricing plans for the city’s constituents. Users will also be able to access the service in any Clearwire market outside of Milledgeville. In 2006, Clearwire contracted with Grand Rapids, Mich., for a similar muni-WiMAX network. While we haven’t seen the muni-WiMAX trend take off, Clearwire could certainly use some anchor tenants such as cities like these to offer a solid revenue stream early on.

The Union Recorder: Wireless city steps closer.

VoIP growth in LatAm.

July 28, 2008

 The power of VoIP is rolling into Latin America, driven by lower costs and the growth of broadband services. It’s also affecting service provider profits, says the new “VoIP in Latin America” report by Frost & Sullivan.

In Brazil, the growth of VoIP and IP telephony is in part expected to cause a 2.8 percent early dip in local revenues and a 7.9 percent dip in long-distance revenues over the next six years. End users say they’re reaching for VoIP for cost reductions. 

Frost and Sullivan expects the LatAm VoIP market to grow from earned revenues of around $72 million in 2007 to nearly $626 million in 2012. F&S says VoIP and wireless VoIP service providers need to ensure both operational efficiency and quality of service to thrive, along with effective distribution and promotion strategies.

Factors that will hinder VoIP growth include lack of number portability regulation, poor end-user awareness (i.e. marketing), low call quality levels and an “almost non-existent” VoIP pre-sales effort. VoIP carriers need to improve pre-sales support and customer service, along with creating new service bundles and improving VoIP quality.

Global Crossing has made two announcements in the past 30 days touting their upgrades in Latin America. (If that isn’t enough of a clue the IP business is hot in the Southern hemisphere, there’s also translations of GC’s website in Portuguese and Spanish). In its latest announcement, the self-styled “IP solutions provider” said it has put “Supercore” routing platforms into Buenos Aries, San Tiago, and San Paulo. The company had previously installed Supercore routers in St. Croix, USVI and Fort Amador, Panama. 

The announced upgrades effectively triple the company’s previous core capacity in the region and enables OC-192/10 Gbps SONET connections on its 12,000 route miles South American Crossing (SAC) undersea fiber-optic cable system; last month, Global Crossing announced it expanded SAC by 100 Gbps of transport capacity. The company cites the need to handle rising demand for 10 Gbps Ethernet services and the need to future-proof for services faster than 10 GBps without the delays caused by forklift upgrades.

IDC is projecting the Latin American market for enterprise IP services to grow from $2.94 billion in 2008 to $4.3 billion in 2011, at an annualized rate of 10.1 percent.

New York: Broadband battleground!

July 23, 2008

Verizon and Time Warner Cable are going to war for the hearts, souls and wallets of New York City pay-TV customers.

Verizon last week got the go ahead from New York State for its FiOS serviced in New York City, formerly the playground of Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. The telco has boldly gone into action, already taking video-service orders with planned install dates starting Aug. 1. Verizon’s blitzkrieg has so rattled industry analysts that one, Pali Capital’s Rich Greenfield, downgraded TWC stock to sell Monday, sparking a flurry of, well, sales by investors who pushed the cableco’s share price down 4.1 percent.

But TWC’s COO Landel Hobbs has launched a counterattack, saying the company has a multi-pronged strategy of its own that will blunt the Verizon offensive. What, pray tell? Well, TWC’s planning to get installers to the door in a narrower window, is offering discounts for longer term contract and is sending out an army of door-to-door sales reps. Hmmm. Shock and awe it ain’t. Score an early win for Verizon.

Wall Street Journal: Time Warner Cable, Verizon to Duel.

European Governments begging mobile operators. Please!

July 21, 2008

The French population is beginning to complain loudly about increasing inflation, claims the French consumer goods minister, who has reacted by asking the country’s three main operators–Orange, SFR and Bouygues, to cut SMS prices that have only fallen slightly over the past four years.

This will be the trend of the European countries, as the market crashes and the fat mobile operators continue to profit high, because of the very bad regulations applied to telecommunication industries in Europe creating “monsters” like Vodafone, poor services and extremely expensive!   

The minister, Luc Chatel, has urged the three operators to be aware of the problem faced by French consumers, and has invited them to make an example by cutting the cost of text messages.

The national regulator, Arcep, has provided support to Chatel’s call by stating that French consumers on pay-as-you-go phones pay an average cost of €0.12 per text. This price has remained nearly constant since 2004 while the volume of texts has doubled in this period. Of interest are the prices of SMS from France’s MVNOs that cost around 25-30 per cent less than from the three main operators. This ‘consumer-pleasing’ initiative by Chatel comes only days after the EU announced a proposal to slash by roughly two thirds the cost of text messages for people travelling between EU countries.

mocoNews: France “Inviting” Operators To Cut SMS Prices.

All New Close Proximity Wireless Technology by Sony and others.

July 17, 2008

Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba JVC, Kodak, Hitachi and “others” have today announced that they’re forming the Transferjet consortium to develop an “interoperable wireless transfer technology.” Sounding like a challenge to Bluetooth, Transferjet will apparently operate at a theoretical 560 Mbps rate. Plus it could allow pairing as simply as touching two devices together: your camera could display pics on TV simply by sitting it atop the screen. Sounds like a great consumer solution, but since the consortium has yet to define specs, it’ll be a while until the project bears fruit. With big players like this aboard though, other wireless data systems must be feeling the pressure.

TransferJet Press Release: Consortium Established to Develop and Promote Close Proximity Wireless Technology “TransferJet”.