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The Battle for Your Mobile Broadband

Updated on May 31, 2012
Mobile Broadband and VoIP
Mobile Broadband and VoIP

Who Owns Your Broadband Connection?

Mobile broadband has long been subjected to different rules compared to its wired counterpart. Frequent disconnections and the imposition of data caps separate it from the fast and reliable Internet connection that we have at home. To what extent this distinction is justified depends on the person doing the analysis. Some feel that the very nature of the technology itself mandates that it be treated differently. Others assert that strong business interests play a crucial role in determining the attitude of wireless mobile carriers towards the products that they offer their customers. It's no secret for example that the carriers are openly hostile to Internet applications like VoIP.

While the United States has seen less of carriers resorting to underhand tactics to block or otherwise seriously impede mobile VoIP applications, this could well be because the public at large has a far lower exposure to VoIP that people in the European Union. Many carriers in the EU openly discriminate against VoIP traffic thereby begging the question – who really owns the mobile broadband connections at you pay for. Net neutrality initiatives in the United States have met stringent resistance and the shareholders of large telecom carriers like AT&T have overwhelmingly voted against the imposition of such policies.

The Customer Pushes Back on VoIP

It doesn't take a genius to see that when a company has two conflicting products one of which is more profitable than the other, they will choose to favor one over the other. Mobile VoIP has always been seen as a grave threat to traditional telecom revenues due to its ability to make calls cheaply in the local as well as the international sphere. Certain companies in the EU have publicly tried to charge customers extra for traffic generated by VoIP like applications. The inherent unfairness in this apparently escapes a great many people. Imagine your electricity provider charging you more for the electricity consumed by low wattage lamps based on the excuse that you're not drawing as much power as you normally would!

Fortunately the governments in the EU seem to be far more sensible about such matters. The Netherlands for example has formally instituted net neutrality into law behind countries like Chile. The United States is going through its own net neutrality debate but because of the political structure and the powerful business interests that have a much greater hold over the government, it's possible that it would be far more difficult given that people are also less aware of VoIP.

One of the advantages of VoIP is that you can retain the same SIP provider regardless of where you go thereby allowing you to keep your telephone number and all your business contacts. A New York VoIP service for example is not restricted to geographic locations in New York itself. Contact your ITSP to find out how you can get started today.

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