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When The Next Big Thing finally arrives

August 25, 2004

Because of the uncertain and speculative nature of new technology trends, journalists who cover the industry face a losing battle: lots of stories are written too soon, many are written too late. With a recent deluge of Internet telephony stories, however, we think the tech hacks may finally be timing the market just right.
In NYC, a Verizon dial tone with a basic voicemail/caller-id package will cost you $40, and that’s without ever placing a call. The model is clearly broken. It’s hardly shocking that the Journal article notes the following: “Verizon’s traditional phone lines are down by nine million, or 16%, since the end of 2000, according to research firm Precursor Group.”
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Perma-grin of the Internet phone enthusiast
As for the early hype, the a:c is not pointing fingers. One of us wrote a story for Red Herring in 1997 that examined the nascent market — but we’d like to think it wasn’t too boosterish. As the article points out: “It’s an ambitious vision, indeed, and one fraught with uncertainty. Government regulations (both domestic and international), billing procedures, quality-of-service requirements, interoperability concerns (complying with the H.323 standard), infrastructure costs, the development of useful applications, and how new phone numbers (or IP addresses) will be assigned are among the variables rendering the future of Internet telephony murky at best.”
Well, it seems the future may be now.
Read: Phone Industry Faces Upheaval As Ways of Calling Change Fast – [WSJ – $]
Read: 2 Companies to Make Gear for Phoning Over Internet – [NYT – reg. req.]
Read: NO SUCH THING AS A FREE CALL – [Red Herring – reg. req.]
Read: Fully VoIP and Cellular – [alarm:clock]

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