So now Shaw cable in Canada think's it's reasonable to charge a roughly 30-40% premium for VOIP traffic, compared to basic ISP rates.
I have a few issues with that:
- The ISP is paid to reliably carry IP traffic. Their contracts do not identify specific IP blocks, port ranges, data types, or other categories of data. i.e. The ISP is trying to unilaterally rewrite existing contracts.
- VOIP runs over compressed data packets. We're talking 24-32kbit/s giving pretty decent monaural compression, 64kbit/s if you go overboard on audio quality (it's not music MP3's, people, it's a specialized compression algorithm dealing with human vocal frequency ranges, not the full 20-20k audio spectrum.)
- The only thing "special" about VOIP traffic is that QOS balancing is mandated to give time-dependent packets like VOIP and video feeds priority over regular data packets. There is no "added cost" to the ISP for doing this -- it's built into the hardware they've been using for half a decade or longer.
- Patience -- next up will be Shaw announcing their phone package, a "special deal" where you only get screwed for an additional $5 ifyou get the Shaw+TheirPreferredVOIPSupplier instead of $10 for using the Vonage competitor. (Every ISP in north america is trying to jump onto the old telco cash cow, forgetting it stopped being a cash cow over a decade ago -- that's why Nortel et. al. are in so much trouble.)
So where the hell is the CRTC when they're supposed to be regulating the behavior of the ISPs?