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Shaw defends 'QoS enhancement' package

Mon, 06/19/2006 - 7:41am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Shaw Communications and its Canada-based cable MSO subsidiary have filed a series of court documents that aim to “set to record straight” regarding a “Quality of Service Enhancement” package being offered to Vonage customers and customers of other third-party VoIP services that leverage the public Internet.

The documents, filed in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary, note that Shaw’s IP-based phone service is offered over the operator’s QoS-enabled, managed network, while Vonage’s service travels the public Internet and is open to packet delays and other “inherent limitations.”

Shaw reiterated that its high-speed data customers who also use the Vonage service can take the QoS Enhancement service on a completely optional basis. The enhancement runs $10 per month.

Vonage has previously complained of the tactic, referring to it as a “thinly-veiled VoIP tax,” and has since requested that the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission step in to investigate the matter.

Shaw officials have told CED previously that the enhancement includes an upgrade to a DOCSIS 2.0 modem and the cleaning up of RF interference in the home. Shaw also “marks” the modem’s MAC address.

Vonage is also facing attacks in the U.S. On Monday, Vonage acknowledged it has been served with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Verizon Services Corp. and Verizon Laboratories Inc. The suit claims Vonage is infringing on some intellectual property tied to Verizon’s VoIP technology. Verizon presently offers a VoIP service called VoiceWing.

Vonage said it believes its service has been developed with its own proprietary technology or technologies licensed from third parties, and therefore “intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”

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