It's Not The Service, It's The Carrier

5 April 2004

Finally, an article about something I’ve been suspecting for some time. The executive summary in a sentence: People aren’t avoiding voice-over-IP because it isn’t an effective technology; they’re avoiding it because the carriers are providing such miserable lines for the IP packets to travel along.

I’ve seen this any time I’ve talked to a small business owner about the merits of hosted/managed business applications. From QuickBooks to NetLedger to the latest in ERP applications, a hosted option exists. However, mention that to a business owner and you’ll get a litany of reasons why the ISP they use wouldn’t possibly be reliable enough to carry something so important as accounting data.

This is like the brokerage house that is willing to be without the computers for a few minutes, but let the phones die for even 30 seconds and there is chaos. For all their good and bad, the legacy phone companies conditioned us to believe that dial tone is always on, always available and never unreliable.

Only a new generation of carriers with customer-focused service guarantees and a willingness to stop billing any time the bandwidth isn’t available can solve this problem.

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