National broadband provider iiNet has responded to comments by Telstra that consumer-grade Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony isn’t yet reliable enough for use by pointing out that it has 170,000 customers using the technology – and they’re very happy, thank you very much.
On Monday, Telstra said it did not believe VoIP could deliver sufficient reliability and quality to enable the telco to launch a VoIP service to consumers, despite revealing plans to launch a VoIP service to small businesses, including those with staff working from home. In addition, Telstra executives claimed the company’s SME VoIP service was qualitatively different from that of iiNet’s offering, as it featured Quality of Service functionality at the telephone exchange level.
However, in a statement, iiNet pointed out it currently had “more than 170,000” customers using its digital voice solution, Netphone, which it had been selling since 2005. “Netphone has proven extremely popular with customers because of both the cost and the quality of service that we can provide over an iiNet-operated and maintained network,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Telstra remains one of Australia’s only major broadband providers without its own consumer-grade VoIP service, with iiNet, Internode and TPG all having long sold VoIP as an add-on option to broadband and even Optus launching VoIP services over its HFC cable network, for example.
“iiNet believes in providing consumers with choice, not dictating how they should connect with friends and family,” the iiNet spokesperson added. “And our customers are making that choice: of those with both fixed and digital voice connections, the majority of calls are made using Netphone.”
iiNet also took aim at the comment by Telstra executive Deena Shiff that Telstra was the only telco to offer full quality of service on its VoIP platform.
“Because iiNet controls and operates the digital voice network, all our customers can benefit from a superior phone service to that experienced by public VOIP products like Skype,” the iiNet spokesperson said. “iiNet also offers full end-to-end quality of service to our business customers using the same Broadsoft platform that the incumbent is now promising.”
iiNet’s comments come as Internode managing director Simon Hackett has also fiercely attacked Telstra’s statements on VoIP over the past week.
In an opinion piece published yesterday, the executive described Telstra’s comments has having “technical inaccuracies and factual errors of significant sorts” all through them. “The key point to understand is that when Telstra say that VoIP isn’t yet reliable, they are making a statement about the quality of the Telstra network only, not about VoIP in general,” he wrote.
“Hence it seems that the correct re-interpretation of “we don’t think the quality and reliability is there. We could bring it to the market tomorrow, but we don’t want to” is really “our network isn’t up to scratch as yet, unlike our competitors”.”