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More on Vonage service disruptions...

  • From: Fergie (Paul Ferguson)
  • Date: Wed Mar 02 09:49:57 2005

advancedIPpipeline is running another article this morning
in their series of articles covering the Vonage service
disruptions that [allegedly] invlove an ISP "port blocking"
SIP connectitity between Vonage's client equipment and
Vonage's servers. While there is a bit more decriptive
detail in this article involving the nature of the service
interruptions, Vonage's CEO, Jeffrey Citron, is trying
to make a [in my opinion] weak argument that this type
of traffic blocking is akin to censorship.

The silliness of the "censorship" argument aside, an
interesting snippet within this article started me
thinking abut the "slippery slope" which might
ensue if any type of legislation is enacted which
would attempt to prohibit an ISP from blocking
traffic in an effort to keep it [unwanted traffic]
from traversing their network:

 "'It'd be unfortunate to have to pass a law [against
 port blocking and other types of interference], but
 we may have to,' Citron said. Though he said he has
 previously testified against the need for port-blocking
 regulation, Citron may now change that tune, especially
 if more network operators start using port-blocking or
 other techniques to selectively control Internet

It looks to me like this is going to open up a huge can
of worms. On one hand, you have ISP's who own their own
infrastructure and have every right to prohibit traffic
from traversing their network which does not conform to
their AUP, business practices, technical standards, etc.,
or provide revenue. By the same token, and specifically
when it comes to things like VoIP, we have these issues
involving PUC's, FCC regulations, "equal access" rights,

IANAL (or a policy wonk), and I hope I'm wrong, but it
certainly looks like things could get pretty ugly.

- ferg

"Fergie", a.k.a. Paul Ferguson
 Engineering Architecture for the Internet or

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