Net Telephony Slowly Moving Forward

Wednesday August 08 by Ron Jarvis
Scottsdale-based Cahners In-Stat projects that telephone conversations over cable television infrastructure using Internet protocols is more than a year away. This means that the cable companies will continue to use traditional switching over the next year. The company predicts that even with this delay, there will be some 15 million subscribers subscribing to the service by 2005.

The Industry predictions of how quickly voice over IP will gain ground got ahead of themselves as evidenced by the demise of Phoenix-based Visitalk this year. Other Arizona Voice over IP ventures however are holding on. Phoenix-based Cirilium earlier this week announced a deal with New Jersey-based Radvision, a producer of products and technology for Voice and Video over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

The rollout of Internet Protocol telephony has often been disappointed by equipment manufactured by networking giant Cisco and others. The number of ISPs and CLECs has diminished and capital is scarce for telecom capital expenditures. In this environment, it is likely that Voice Over IP will lose some of its critical mass with the large equipment makers.

This leads many to believe that there is an even bigger opportunity for startups and newer companies like Scottsdale's IPvoice. Investors seem to have a continued appetite for companies developing the technology. IPvoice announced support from long-term investors earlier this month in addition to announcing a deal with Genuity.

The answer to the question of whether IP telephony will replace switched circuits seems to be a bit more complex than we all thought two years ago. One thing has become clear since then, the most important component of any voice over IP strategy is PATIENCE.

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