TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Lingo Voip SUCKS!

Re: Lingo Voip SUCKS!

Fred R. Goldstein (fgoldstein@munged)
Sat, 04 Dec 2004 15:47:39 -0500

Can you please change my address to something munged such as or some such? Thanks!

In V23 I578 Tony P. wrote:

> It seems that Verizon only has to do rapid LNP with other FCC regulated
> carriers. If you're not FCC regulated they can take as long as they want
> and delay for whatever reason they wish because they're free of
> regulatory burden.

Of course. Number portability only applies to telephone companies,
either wireline or wireless. You can port your number among phone
companies, but not to, say, a supermarket company. Lingo and Vonage
have gone to great lengths to declare that while they advertise as
phone companies, they do not belong to any legal category of local
telephone company. Their choice, actually, though it would be hard to
get certificated in all states and deal with every state's different

> Vonage basically buys excess capacity on two carriers switches, Paetec
> or Focal Communications. Interestingly neither lists their switch type
> on the telcodata web site so I'm left to surmise that in my case,
> Paetec is just buying UNE from Verizon. That being the case my number
> transfer shouldn't take more than a couple days. But Verizon won't
> treat it as carrier to carrier as they should.

You didn't look at the right database. Paetec has a 5ESS-2000 switch.
I think they serve RI out of a switch in Hartford, Connecticut, though
they also have one in Massachusetts. You can't lease UNE switching
capacity for bulk purposes like this. Vonage or Lingo could,
theoretically, simply purchase retail PRI service from Verizon, but it
would not be a good business relationship, to be sure, and they would
not get as good a price as they get from the various other carriers
they use around the country (Focal and Paetec being only two).

The point, though, is that technically, the number has to be ported to
a Paetec or Focal switch. Vonage is an "intermediary", a bulk
consumer of telephone numbers who is neither a carrier nor end user.
There's no particular reason why Verizon shouldn't be able to quickly
(in the usual time frame, not a month) port a number to either
carrier. But it's quite possible that Vonage's processes don't quite
mesh correctly with their underlying carrier's, and something got

> A few years from now when the Verizon's and SBC's and Qwests are
> marginalized they'll be wondering why they only carry < 25% of the
> market.

> Years of reliance on tariff and regulation are the reason.

Part of it. But also note that Verizon and the other Bells have
bought into particular standardized Processes for ordering. These are
computerized (OSS -- operational support systems), and designed to
facilitate "flow-through" -- place the order and no further human
intervention is needed, unless wiring is required. But flow-through
processes tend to be brittle. If something's not quite standard, it's
hard to make it work. A key system is called LSR (local service
request). Competitive carriers are allowed to use this. They're also
allowed to "bind" their own software to it. When it works, it's
great. But it's far from intuitive, has a zillion obscure codes, and
it's hard enough for a human to operate. Binding a competitor's
system to it is even harder, since computers don't have the
intelligence to figure out every possible obscure combination of

I know getting my ILEC phone book listing (non-standard, two numbers
on one line, each with a different name) straight has been a
nightmare, five years and running with three different owners of the
cable/CLEC. The systems just didn't bind right. Finally this year I
went to the supervisor and asked about going around their own OSS
right into the Verizon LSR screen that feeds the phone book. They
have somebody who knows how to work it directly. Maybe they'll get it
right this time.

Vonage and Lingo are newer operations. It doesn't surprise me that
some of these things don't work right yet.

[Pat added:]
> None of the former Bell telcos give up easily; UNE-C was bad enough
> for them, but VOIP is really doing a number on them.

I don't think that VoIP really scares them. They won't sell you DSL
to run it on until you pay for a "first" phone line anyway -- or maybe
a "naked" DSL surcharge. So what's the risk of a second line? The
cable companies can sell telephony anyway; they're setting up their
own dial tone, and their costs are low. The quality of "parasitic"
VoIP like Lingo or Vonage won't be as high as real telephone lines or
PacketCable (which has reserved bandwidth). And in any case, the
Bells are weaning themselves of LD access revenues anyway. It's only
the rural telcos, who get high fees from the LD carriers, who are

Some of the rural telcos have their own little group, ARIC, which has
sent the FCC a proposal for intercarrier compensation in the VoIP era.
It basically says that you will pay high toll fees to call up your ISP
(Ye Olde Modem Tax, yet another plea), and will pay them measured
usage fees for bytes on your DSL too. All to create subsidies to
allow inefficient rural telephone companies in high-cost areas to
provide local telephone service for half of what we pay in the city,
with their own subscribers only paying a small fraction of the cost.
I don't see their proposal going anywhere, but it's those companies
who are worried about VoIP, not SBC and Verizon (who have their own
products, after all), who are a little sick of subsidizing the rurals

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