22 October 2005

Slay the lamb to protect the beast again

Saddness ensues. Phone companies want to put an end to my wonderful Skype experience. So far I've made several hours of SkypeOut calls (calls from my computer to a land line or cellphone) and have only spent about US$6. Compare that to the more standard 17 cents a minute calling card and I've already saved $30 or so. Try to make a call without a service plan and you could be paying over $1 a minute. Not to mention the untold hours of the completely free Skype-Skype user calls. Established phone companies have hated companies like Skype and Vonage since their inceptions, but now they have a way to get even.

New technology created by Narus Inc, allows phone companies to indentify digital communication packets (from broadband phone calls) and block them. In serveral countries this is already being employed. Although U.S. companies must comply with their common carrier status and thus cannot block the calls outright, apparently that doesn't mean they can't make the calling experience miserable for us through staticky connections and transmission delays.

My only hope is that as a result of Big Phone's oppressiveness more people jump on the broadband bandwagon. Of course I'd be doing the same thing as the phone companies if I were them ("These new services are using our existing lines and then have the nerve to undercut our prices!"). However for the sake of humanity, let's innovate and be competitive rather than just try to protect our outdated investments.

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