Vonage is being blocked?


If anyone care’s to remember, I wrote about this a little while ago. A new set of tools can block VoIP traffic from coming on to a certain network. You can read more here, in this post entitled, The VoIP End Run. Now there is word that Vonage is being blocked by some of the larger carriers, and has filed a complaint with FCC. The news was made public by Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessing, who was speaking at a Silicon Flatirons conference in Boulder, Colorado.

Advanced IP Pipeline reports Reports of other providers using networking techniques to block competitors’ VoIP services have surfaced before, but none have involved Vonage or major U.S. service providers. Robert Pepper, the FCC’s chief of policy development, was at the Silicon Flatirons conference and confirmed that Vonage had complained to the FCC about blocking issues, but did not comment further.

The company declined comment. The VoIP traffic blocking is happening mostly because of tools that can block or degrade a certain type of VoIP data stream.

Many overlooked the fact that Cisco bought a company called P-Cube recently. One of the things P-Cube can do is prioritize the traffic flows on an IP network. SBC could use it and lower the priority of the traffic coming from say Vonage or AT&T. Nothing illegal here: SBC’s network and it can do pretty much what it wants on its own network. Poor quality, lags, dropped packets and soon Vonage customers could be switching…

The moves were criticized by attendees of the conference including Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, and also an MCI executive.



Well all I can say is it is happeneing to me now….is there a way around it? Something that I can do?

Martin Neumann

As more and more ISPs get into providing their own voip services this is bound to happen. And to me it’s simply anti-competitive! Full Stop!

Unless it’s security-related (and I’m sure that’s an argument they’ll eventually put up) traffic of all kinds should be allowed.

I would be fuming if I were a customer at a particular ISP and decided to use and sign up with a third-party voip provider only to have a second-rate disruptive service – all because my ISP wanted voip all for itself.

The FCC should crack down hard on this.

Jesse Kopelman

Don’t be so sure that having to label one’s service restricted would be a disincentive. This can easly be spun into a positive by claiming “we only give you the good/safe parts of the internet.” Indeed almost all of the advertising I see from Verizon, AOL, Netscape, and others talks about how they are doing more to keep their members safe. To legitimize blocking outside VoIP all one has to do is claim it is being done to improve security.

Andy Abramson

Adelphia did this to CallVantage a while back, but AT&T worked around it. Seems Vonage should be smart enough to. Then again, maybe they’re not.

Charlie Sierra

Of course the other option is for SBC customers to not switch Vongae — but instead switch to another IP service provider like cable or wireless service providers.


Lawrence Lessig did warn about this in his book “Code And Other Laws of Cyberspace”. Companies are breaking the end-to-end semantics of the Internet for their own benefit.

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