BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB: where "word of keystroke" begins

July 10, 1997 -- Internet telephony and FAX

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, July 10, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.

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Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):

Today's participants


Richard Seltzer -- We'll be talking about Internet telephony and FAX today --
starting at 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4). Please introduce yourselves as you connect and let us know your interests.

Richard Seltzer -- We want to continue to talk about Internet telephony and FAX -- how you can do it and what you can do with it for your business.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hello all - I'm Bob an independant consultant in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, bill_h and Bob @Cottage.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Hi, Richard. I'm here. I'm in Marketing Support, but am currently between jobs. My daughter is in California, so if I could call her without needing a lot of gadgets and without a big expense that would be good.

fabman -- I am learning to use computer.

Jim Ciociolo -- Hello Richard...I'm here Jim 

Definition of Internet Telephony and FAX

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Could you quickly explain what Internet telephony is. Thanks.

Richard Seltzer -- Barb -- By Internet telephony, we mean sending voice/telephone messages over Internet lines. This could mean saving long-distance charges. It also could mean opening up new kinds of applications and new business models. Imagine having all of your messaging services tied together so you could get to email, voicemail, phone calls, paging, etc. all from a single device; and being able to be reached by these methods through a single address, no matter where you might be physically.

Richard Seltzer -- Barb-- on the FAX side, once again, you could save on long-distance charges by sending the message over Internet lines. And you also could have greater flexibility in managing and tracking your various FAX messages and be able to with a single command do a broadcast FAX to a number of people at the same time -- for instance, to your sales force. 

Internet FAX

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - have you seen the offering at ? They have a global network in place and offer server links and a programming API for developers

Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- I hadn't seen faxsav. Thanks for the pointer. I'll check that out.

Jim Ciociolo -- Richard, it seems that all of the network providers are focusing on IP to PSTN gateway solutions. Fax seems to be the first "killer application" which can quickly be deployed iinto their infrastructures. Given that fax is typically a store and forward service, it melds easily into the typical pop based e-mail messaging environment. IP phone,in my oopinion, will take longer for the telco's to adopt given the economics associated with changing people's habits. (the phone always works thru the PSTN).

Jim Ciociolo -- PSInet, Netcom and UUNET have recently announce Internet Fax services.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Symantec's WinFax 8 software comes with internet fax capabilities also.

Jim Ciociolo -- Bob, NetCentric actually developed the software for Symantec. All Winfax Internet faxes are routed thru our Cambridge Fax POP. 

Internet Telephone

Richard Seltzer -- Another interesting service that I just heard about is at That's a site run by Jeff Pulver that allows free phone calls to number in New York City. It's set up to demo the quality of Internet phone connections (using Vocaltec). Purportedly it can allow telephone to telephone conversations, but I haven't been able to figure out the instructions yet. Looks quite interesting. He can't join us today, but I'm hoping he will be able to next week. 

What can you do today?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- I know there are companies out there that support Internet telephone, but are there any customers who have used it?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Rich, being able to call people from wherever I am and to wherever they are sounds good, but I can do that now. I pay for the call, but don't have to pay for a lot of expensive equipment. Would Internet telephony be cost effective for an individual or is it more for corporate use?

bill_h -- I have read about Internet Phone (and it's companions), but I have not had a need to use it. Are all these Internet phone products compatible with each other? Do they connect point-to-point (requires known IP) or through a server?

Richard Seltzer -- Jim or Anil -- could you please field that question from bill_h about compatibility?

Anil Kapoor -- This technology started as Web based phones using propriertary technology. The problem was that people can only talk over Internet if other party also have the similar product. As you know, internet technologies are moving with Dog year Speed. We have standards evolving for Voice, Fax, and vedio for use over the internet. Players like Microsoft have announced Netmeeting product which uses White Board Application over the Net. There are multiple players who have announced products that bridges between Internet Telephony with Public Switched Telecom Network (PSTN). Say I want to call my parents in India. I will call a local number where these gateways are. This gateway will convert my call into IP packets and send to gateway in India. The gateway in India will make a local call to my parents home and we both will pay only local call charges and NOT international charges. These gateways are available today.

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- The question of gateways greatly confuses matters for the ordinary users. That's what stumped me in going to and trying to do a demo. How do you find out what gateways are in place and how to connect to them and how to use them? Is anyone acting as a mediator to make it easy for the ordinary person or business to know if it is possible to make a certain call and then to make it? I suspect that the technology is all available, but what is missing are the services that deliver it to the general public.

Anil Kapoor -- Gateways: These gateways will be used in three environments:


Carriers provinding services

ISP providing Telecom Services

1. Corporate Environment: Say Digital has only two offices one in Maynard MA and other in Reading MA. We have installed two gateways at these two locations. And these gateways are connected behind our PBXes. Now I make a call from Maynard to Reading, these gateways pick the phone number I am dialing, from phone number they know I am trying to dial Reading UK. The gateway converts the call to IP and Gateway at Reading decodes the address to phone number of the person I am trying to dial. The gateway dials the person and we use local PBS to IP to local PBS in Reading. We ca now repeat this solution to many sites. ISPs and Carriers: These folks will provide Voice service, Fax Service at a chaper rate. The user dials their ISPs special number enter his or her PIN, and then enters the remote phone number. The gateway connects the call.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- It seems like the world of Internet telephony would become more of a reality if there were places people could go to try it out, i.e., trade shows. Companies could have special booths set up at the Trade Show which could access other such booths in other parts of the world or just other parts of the trade show facility. People understand things better if they can try it, without a lot of work and expense. 

Future potential of Internet telephony

Richard Seltzer -- Anil, I know that you work at Digital and are involved in Internet telephony development. Could you tell us something about where this technology is headed -- the kinds of applications that could and should be available to business people over the next five years? I want to get across the message that the cost savings is just the tip of the ice berg.

Anil Kapoor -- All the carriers like MCI, AT&T, Sprint and GTE are looking for ways to provide Internet based multimedia services to their clients - these services will start with voice over IP and Fax over IP. Their plans are to add vedio later on.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Anil, how soon will services by AT&T and the others be available?

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Jim from NetCentric. We're trying to get a clearer sense of 1) what individuals and companies can and should do today with phone and FAX over the Internet and 2) the longer range promise of applications based on these capabilities.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- I see on TV the commercials of the person who does everything for work at home, including giving presentations in real time. Is this a reality or just a future hope of MCI?

Richard Seltzer -- Barb -- actually the stuff in that commercial is all doable today. The limitation is bandwidth. If you have a slow modem, forget it. But more people are connecting in faster ways -- and if it's essential to your business, your company is likely to pay the cost of the faster line.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Rich, what company puts out the software to do all the stuff shown on TV? Is it MCI or an independent software company?

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Barbara -- We have to think of the internet as "the media" of the future. With WEB TV starting at $200-$300 before long every household will have access to inexpensive equipment with the telephony & faxing services we are talking about. Putting these capabilities in the WEB TV appliances will be childs play and the next logical step. Pioneers like ourselves and our expensive equipment are paving the way. 

Compelling business applications?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I'm looking for compelling business applications for today: the kind of thing that obviously makes and saves money and hence leads to quick adoption of new technology. It could be something very simple. I can imagine a few, but I have not heard of any in actual practice. If you know of them, please share it.

Richard Seltzer -- One example of a Web application that uses FAX (but doesn't seem to use Internet-based FAX) --
They do a clipping service -- tracking what's said in newsgroups and also tracking changes at particular Web sites and sending reports (based on keyword searches) to subscribers by FAX. I have no idea why they aren't using Internet-based FAX for that. I also don't understand why there aren't traditional clipping services using Internet FAX capability to distribute what they have gleaned from traditional publications.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- any good examples of broadcast FAX over the Internet? I could easily imagine FAXing discount coupons to subscribers. Is anybody doing that?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- has anyone seen any travel bureau applications of Internet phone capabilities? It would seem like a natural, not just for the travel folks to save money in making calls to far away places for setting up reservations, but also allowing travelers to talk directly to people at the target destination from the travel office.

Richard Seltzer -- I could also imagine a traveller's aid service using Internet phone capabilities. Wherever you are in the world, you can make free calls to a knowledgeable mentor who can help you through unforeseen difficulties -- could be part of a traveller's insurance service. 

Applications in education

Janet Nichols -- Hi, Janet Nichols here, education coordinator for Web-Net. Does anyone know of any educational applications for this?

wayne jacoby -- I'm also looking for educational applications.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome Janet and Wayne. Wayne, I know that you are interested in K-12. Have you had a chance to test out any of the Internet phone type software? Do you see potential for using this technology to link together K-12 classrooms? What barriers do you see?

Richard Seltzer -- Janet and Wayne -- I also would love pointers to actual educational applications. The potential of the underlying software seems obvious. Why don't I see this being used for language practice with native speakers in other countries? Why don't I see high school social studies classes using this to link to classes in countries that they are studying about? It's been available for a couple years. Are there hidden barriers to such applications? Or is it actually happening and I just haven't heard about it?

wayne jacoby -- Rich, I have not tried Internet Telephone, but its application fits well into our communication exchange at minimal cost concept. I want to pursue it.

wayne jacoby -- Rich, I have been out of the classroom for two years, but I think the problem is still the same. Teacher training is needed along with dealing better with the curriculum accountability issue.

Anil Kapoor -- On educational application: Yesterday, I was visiting a company in Boca Raton in Florida. They are developing a very neat product for Education. they have developed a client and working on Server where using a client you can log on to the vertual class room and your client, classroom white bd. share common data. imagine, you can now attend a class from anywhere in the world and be interactive in the class room.

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- do you have a URL for that company in Boca Raton?

Jim Ciociolo -- I actually think that distance learning applications using audio and dataconferencing will be more widely adopted by the education and business community than standard IP phoning. Anil is right, todays solutions require both ends of the IP connection to be IP phones.

Janet Nichols -- Rich, From my experience at the evening college level and watching my children in grade school I'd say it is a combination of the usual, lack of money for equipment and lack of knowledge on the part of administrators many of whom are older and not very computer literate.

wayne jacoby -- All - I would like to see this concept used for interntional communication exchanges to promote better cultural and language understanding. We have done it with schools primariy with video in the past.

wayne jacoby -- All - I would like to see this concept used for interntional communication exchanges to promote better cultural and language understanding. We have done it with schools primarily with video in the past.

wayne jacoby -- Rich - Bruce Rogers..."" is from Philadelphia and might be a good person for you to contact about this. He has been involved with Freevue in California and others. I tried to get him to join this discussion today.

Richard Seltzer -- Wayne -- thanks for the pointer to Bruce Rogers. Maybe we can get him to connect next Thursday. 

Video too?

wayne jacoby -- Anil - I would like to see this personalized with video.

Richard Seltzer -- Wayne -- there are versions of the software that do video as well as audio.

Richard Seltzer -- Wayne -- I think the only problem with the video is that it adds to the complexity -- if it's difficult getting a couple of classrooms compatibly equipped to do Internet phone calls; it's still more difficult for them to upgrade to video.

wayne jacoby -- Anil - What about combining Internet Telephony with inexpensive tripod cameras at both ends of a connection to personalize it?

Richard Seltzer -- Wayne -- There are simple cheaper cameras -- like QuickCam for about $100 -- that you can easily plug into your PC for use with video versions of Internet phone or CUSeeMe. It can be done. It just takes awhile playing with it to figure out how to explain everything simply enough for other classrooms to understand what they have to do to connect with you.

Anil Kapoor -- Camera to IP: Standards are already there for Video call and are under development for Video Conference where one can have Video conference with white board application being shared by multiple user. I strongly believe that Internet Multimedia communication will be the strong reason why people will use Interent for Telephony, Fax and other communication not just being cheaper.

Jim Ciociolo -- Check our or for cool examples of video conferencing/document conferencing. In essence these companies provide the ability for a user to view a powerpoint document in one window with a "stored" video of the presenter in another window. You can use Microsoft Netshow as the client over a dial up connection or a dedicated pipe. Cool applications for the education marketplace.

wayne jacoby -- All - My non-profit company, Global Education Motivators is in the process of developing a multi media, global perspective communication and information database at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia for schools. We want to use this application.

wayne jacoby -- Janet, The database is called GEMNET. It is being moved to the college Web Server this month. The Sept. issue will deal with Human Rights. GEM is an NGO with the United Nations and has worked with them in the area of information dissemination. You can see GEMNET at 

Help desk and call center applications

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard -- the industry that is probably using these telephony features the most TODAY are Helpdesk Applications. Most of the state of the art Helpdesk Software incorporates all of these functions i.e. telephone,fax,email. I'll be glad to forward some urls that will point you to some of them.

Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- Yes, please do forward some of those helpdesk URLs.
That does sound like a natural application. I'd like to see how it's actually used.

Anil Kapoor -- Compelling business application: I think the most compelling business application is Call Center Application. Today, call center works like you bring all the phone calls to one physical location. The caller is answered by first available agent. These solutions take somewhere one million to seven million to complete. think of Web wased Call Center. These agents receive calls at their home. Not only they receive a call but also the history of URLs the caller has been going thru. These agents not only heard what is the problem but can go to their users Web and guide them thru.
These servers will be available by Q4 and at least 3 times chaper.

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- Call center apps sound very appealing. Today, often when I call a large business I have to wait forever to go through long menus of selections, one after the other, and often none of those canned selections are of any use to me.
I would much rather go to a Web site -- see the list of selection, click on the right one, and have that initiate an Internet phone call. How far are we from that capability?

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- another advantage of an Internet-based call center (from the user's perspective) would be avoiding being put on hold and have to pay high long-distance charges for time when I'm just waiting. And from the service provider's point of view, they could avoid the cost of 800 # calls to them.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Rich, I like the idea of avoiding being on hold and not having to pay for the charges while you wait. The idea of being able to talk to a customer rep in real time over the Internet Telephony has real merits. While you waited to be connected to the customer rep, you could be reading about other Trouble Shooting ideas and get good ideas about the company and how to take care of the problem you are calling the company about.

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- another thought regarding Call Center applications. Digital recently upgraded its Call Center. Do you know if they plan to incorporate Internet capabilities soon? Will they/could they become a showcase site for this kind of thing? Are there other companies that are likely to move quickly in this direction and put up showcase versions that we could all look at and hence better understand the opportunities?

Richard Seltzer -- Anil -- what companies do you expect to offer that call center capability this year?

Anil Kapoor -- Richard, You will see some products where with one phone only user will be able to login to their ISP and will use same line to talk to the Call Center Agent. My guess will be Q4 this year. 

Bandwidth issues

Todd Moyer -- I'm still curious about internet "industries" that will greatly increase the consumption of bandwidth, like phone/fax. Isn't this going to challenge the notion that bandwidth is "free"? Who's going to pay for the additional phone lines, etc?

Richard Seltzer -- Todd -- I believe that there are a couple answers to the bandwidth question. First, the Internet style of delivering information in packets means that the same phone line can carry more than one message. It's fundamentally more efficient that dedicating a single connection to a single call. Second, with the proliferation of fiber and cable TV and various wireless connections, in three-to-five years bandwidth probably shouldn't be an issue. But, yes, for the short-term there are likely to be bandwidth problems. Keep in mind that capacity will only go up in response to demand. Demand comes first -- which means problems until the services catch up. But it looks like there's enormous promise here.

Jim Ciociolo -- Todd, Bandwidth over the net isn't really free because all of the big backbone providers have to settle with each other as data passes from one network to the other. What the end user typically sees is the local loop charges. With the Telco's buying ISP's (ie GTE,Quest,BBN or Worldnet,MFS,UUNET) these guys now have access to the local loop revenue. The RBOC's better wake up!

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Todd - I believe that bandwith will evolve like RAM in our PC's. As carriers improve their medium and equipment, the bandwith will not be an issue. I also believe that they will capitalize on the resource and eventually charge ISP's and ultimately we'll pay more for it.

Janet Nichols -- Anil, How good are international Internet connections? In dealing with people from Korea and Pakistan I (and they) have had trouble connecting to "take" a Web-Net class. 

What will the big phone companies do?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Aren't the big phone companies going to sabotage the use of Internet telephony. How are they going to make money for long distance calls?

Richard Seltzer -- Barbara -- In a followup message to last week's transcript, Alan Kotok (who is now associate chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium) pointed out that it is impossible to distinguish phone traffic over the Internet from other kinds of traffic, and hence it is unlikely that phone companies will be able to assess surcharges for it. I think it's much more likely that phone companies will join this new game rather than fight it -- that they will try to become your supplier of this service (or a major player somewhere in the loop). What do others think about this?

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Barbara -- I think the phone companies are changing their business model to capitalize on selling more lines and boosting prices to big backbone ISPs. They'll get rich(er) no matter what we do.

Jim Ciociolo -- Barb, I think that the big telco's will focus on combining audio,video and data over the net and hold off on IP Phone services. You are right, they have the most to loose. However if they are clever and package it as audio-based multimedia services they can protect their telephone revenues and still play in the IP multimedia services market. 


Richard Seltzer -- All -- would you like to continue this topic next week? I'm hoping that we can share some pointers to interesting applications by email in the meantime (for me to post with the transcript). And I also hope we can get Jeff Pulver on to explain how to use his demo site. And also Dave Cedrone from Digital should be back from vacation and available to share his notions of where this technology is headed. Does that make sense to you? Do you have enough unanswered questions to merit another week on this?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- please send me email to let me know if you'd like us to continue this topic and if you can join us again. Also let me know your preferences for future topics. These are ones I'm considering now:

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Rich, I would like to see a discussion on the elderly and computers. As people get older and can't get out, a pc seems like a logical step for the elderly. They could connect to on-line communities with similar interests. They could order their groceries in, etc. Does anyone know of such a service or push to teach the elderly?

Richard Seltzer -- Barb -- Actually, I recently read something about
(Including elders playing card games etc. on-line). I'll try to uncover that and get back to you. Yes, that might make a good topic sometime in the future. []

Jim Ciociolo -- Rich - I would like to continue next week

wayne jacoby -- Rich - I would like to continue with this topic next week.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- looks like there's enough interest to continue. If you haven't had a chance to check out these capabilities directly, please see if you can by next week. If you run into confusion and difficulties, that too could be part of the discussion. And by your use, you're likely to come up with more creative possible applications.

Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- good. I feel we've still got a lot of ground to cover. Can you make it then?

Jim Ciociolo -- Richard--I look forward to next week.

Richard Seltzer -- As usual, I'll do an edited version of the transcript -- trying to reconstruct the threads and make it readable. This should be ready in the next day or two. Check

Richard Seltzer -- All -- time is running out. Before you sign off, please post here your email and URL addresses (don't count on the software to have capture it). Also please send me email at with comment you want added to the transcript.

Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all. Hope you can join us again next week at this
same time.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Bye. See you next week.

wayne jacoby -- All - Talk with you next week.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Rich -- I look forward to continuing this topic. It would be nice if any vendors who participated in this discussion would post URLs to demos of their products. email: ICQ UIN : 779704 


Call Center CTI Company Links

From: Bob Zwick <> Date: Thu, 10 Jul 97 12:13:35 -0600

Here is a short list of some of companies that are implementing Call Center CTI [computer-telephone integration] technology.I can't say for sure which of these have included Internet integration, but I belive most have.


Applix Enterprise Helpdesk

Top of Mind Helpdesk

Heat Professional for Windows


Action Request System


Apriori GT

Expert Advisor

Vycor Enterprise http://www.mcafee


Computer-Telephone Integration (CTI)

Allen Systems Group http://www.allensysgroup.comhttp://www.amtelco

APPLIX - Target Enterprise

Comdial http://www.comdial.com

Cortelco http://www.cortelco.com



Inference Corp.




Periphonics http://www.peri.comhttp://www.phonezone



Portage Communications



Software Artistry

SpanLink (phone connect)

Spectrum Corp.

Stylus, Visual VOICE & Fax

TCS Management



Telco Research


Teubner & Associates

Telephone Response Technologies, Inc.



Early Cloud

Wygant Scientific

Bob, Cottage Micro Services, 103 Vinyard Drive, Waxahachie, TX 75167, PH/FX: (972) 435-2446 


From: Mike Spinney <> Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 08:24:35 -0400

FYI - Voicetek Corp, if you don't already have them listed, has developed a number of telephony products which integrate Internet and Fax.

Their Web site is

Speech recognition demo

From: Richard Smith Sent: Friday, July 11, 1997 10:58 AM

Try this out! It shows what speech recognition can do over the phone in a transaction processing application.

Stock Quote 888 729 3366

Music Mall 617 494 9433

Telephones are the most ubiquitous network access device on the planet -- information on a server can be accessed from almost anywhere, even while driving a car!

No other NC device is within shouting distance of the telephone in terms of installed base and volume growth. With speech recognition and text to speech, the telephone becomes a viable and very useable "NC." 

CompuServe provides telephone access to email

From: Richard Smith Sent: Friday, July 11, 1997 10:53 AM

Here is some information about the CompuServe service for telephone access to E-mail. It is not clear if the service is only in the UK, but the article does say the service is very popular. The interesting part is that big ISPs are deploying the service.

There are at least 2 billion telephones in the world, 10 times as many potential clients as the 200 million PCs.

Richard Smith

PS -- A company called BonaVenture ( is selling a product called E-lert that provides this same voice access to E-mail function. E-mail and then call a number to have the mail read over the phone to you. After hearing your (and many other people's messages -- no privacy!), you can FAX the message back to your own FAX machine.

COMPUSERVE/ "This is your e-mail calling..." -- 'e-mail by phone' service signs up 2,500 in ten days

Date: Thursday, June 26, 1997



M2 PRESSWIRE via Individual Inc. : Several thousand UK Internet users can now pick up their e-mail by phone, thanks to a revolutionary development from CompuServe.

The market leading online service provider has joined Premiere Technologies, Inc. to develop the Global Connect Card, which uses sophisticated 'text-to-speech' technology to enable users to dial in via telephone and hear their messages read out by computer. The exclusive scheme is already proving hugely popular, with 2,500 signing up in just ten days.

CompuServe general manager Martin Turner comments: "Global Connect is already proving successful with CompuServe members on the move, who previously picked up their e-mail messages by laptop in hotels, airports, cars or on trains - if they found the time or inclination to set their PC up at all. Now, all they need is a phone and their PIN number to stay in touch with complete security. Messages can also be printed out via fax, and forwarded to their next destination."

Further benefits with the Global Connect Card, which is exclusive to CompuServe members, include voice and fax mailboxes, financial news, sports and weather updates, automated conference calling and significant savings on long-distance telephone calls.

Turner adds: "Our research constantly reinforces the importance of e-mail to our members. For many, it is absolutely the killer-application. With the introduction of Global Connect, plus faster dial up speeds and several other mail improvements, we are making e-mail faster and more flexible than ever before."

UUNet announces FAX over the Internet service

From: Richard Smith Sent: Friday, July 11, 1997 10:49 AM

The press release at describes a major new service routing FAXs over the Internet instead of over the voice telephone network. A market potential of $92B is cited as the current expenditure for telecommunications charges for FAX calls (half of all international telephone calls are for FAX). The service is based on FAX server and access software from Open Port Technology which runs on WNT and supports Dialogic telephony cards. The FAX server software has host based compression of the FAX data.

Call for papers: The Impact of the Internet on Communications Policy

From: Nora_O'Neil/FS/ Sent: Monday, June 09, 1997 5:06 PM


First Announcement and Call for Papers



Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 4-5, 1997

The Harvard Information Infrastructure Project announces the launch of an activity to explore the impact of the Internet on existing national and international communications policies.

This activity is intended to assist policy makers as they grapple with the fundamental challenges presented by the Internet to the assumptions that underlie current policies.

A conference will be held in late 1997 at Harvard University. It will convene key policy makers, government officials, industry representatives and academics to explore new models for policy development. Accepted contributions will inform discussion at the conference, and will be subsequently published as a volume in the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project's series with MIT Press.

This activity is undertaken in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union and the Center for Law and Information Technology, Harvard Law School.

The following is a sketch of the forces that are changing the world of communications as the Internet assumes greater commercial importance. This sketch is not intended to constrain the views of contributors, but rather to stimulate the identification of important policy issues that should be addressed.

With the emergence of a mass market for Internet services, the relationship between the Internet and traditional media - the public switched network, cable, and broadcast - is growing close and complex. The Internet's rapid expansion is challenging the assumptions of traditional communication policies and raises the possibility that these underlying principles may be recast around basic Internet access. The Internet blurs traditional demarcations in the regulation of communication services, combining features of telephony, broadcast, multicast, and data communications. In the area of telephony, policy makers have sought to advance competition by promoting open access to unbundled services, while maintaining the goals and principles of universal service. In this process, they have distinguished between basic telephony and those services and products that remain outside the regulatory regime. In many countries, therefore, Internet services have been treated as "enhanced services", exempt from regulation. In the case of broadcast, distribution networks - spectrum or cable - have presented significant barriers to entry.

Internet broadcast is not limited by access to such high value and limited assets and brings added two-way communications capabilities. While the Internet is not yet mature as a real-time, high quality, multi-media broadcast network, service bundling with cable and satellite services is rolling out quickly, and experimentation with web-oriented click-through features is expanding.

Use of the Internet is becoming pervasive in business and in the home. As this installed base expands, the fixed cost and flat rate pricing structure of the Internet is leading toarbitrage against usage pricing and the regulatory and cost structures of circuit-switched telephone services. Dial-up access to the Internet is placing demands on the local exchanges as users stay connected for long periods of time, provoking debate as to whether Internet service providers should remain exempt from access fees. Over the long term, the market for the public switched network seems likely to erode as the Internet draws away fax traffic and Internet email substitutes for both fax and voice.

Internet access is presently viewed as something of a commodity service that, like personal computers, can be put together from off-the-shelf components. The advent of resource reservation and the ability to prioritize among service classes will enable rapid development and growth of real-time audio and video services (including telephony) not normally suited to packet-switching. Product differentiation and market segmentation, including the structures of circuit-switched telephone services. Dial-up access to the Internet is placing demands on the local exchanges as users stay connected for long periods of time, provoking debate as to whether Internet service providers should remain exempt from access fees. Over the long term, the market for the public switched network seems likely toerode as the Internet draws away fax traffic and Internet email substitutes for both fax and voice.

Internet access is presently viewed as something of a commodity service that, like personal computers, can be put together from off-the-shelf components. The advent of resource reservation and the ability to prioritize among service classes will enable rapid development and growth of real-time audio and video services (including telephony) not normally suited to packet-switching. Product differentiation and market segmentation, including the premium option of end-to-end service from a single provider, will lead to a proliferation of pricing models, some of which may cannibalize demand for broadcast services.

Already, substitution effects are reducing television viewing in Internet connected households.

Demand for high-speed Internet access is already the major driver for two-way broadband. Depending on whether and the manner in which access fees are imposed for Internet service providers, Internet demand may encompass some piece of the traditional broadcast market and become the dominant driver for alternatives to the local loop, broadband or narrowband. The functionality of the Internet is far greater than circuit-switched telephony and its capabilities are incrementally scaleable. The Internet embraces telephony, broadcast and multicast (and will more completely as priority service is implemented), but transcends the physical and logical limitations with which they have each been associated. Traditional services may enjoy a similar degree of multiplexing and compression, but Internet-based applications escape many of their infrastructure investment, management, and regulatory costs, while benefiting from the sharing of joint costs with a multiplicity of services and applications.

These developments suggest a possible paradigm shift in which ordinary un-prioritized Internet service rather than circuit-switched telephone is cast as the basic service that policy-makers seek to make universal. In this scenario, circuit-switched telephony may increasingly be viewed as a technology used to implement Internet access only where no better alternative can be cost-justified. Implementing anything analogous to "universal service" may be difficult in the fast-moving, unregulated, computer-based environment of the Internet. However, the principles of universalism may become more important because of the high social value of efficient access to government services and other Internet-enabled applications.

Policy processes are often hampered by an incomplete understanding of continually expanding and changing Internet applications, especially when policy-makers have little experience with the Internet. Where national governments are committed to liberalizing telephone service, the advent of the Internet accelerates both market and policy processes. Many countries are looking to the United States, Finland, and other countries with high Internet penetration to gain perspectives on the manner in which the issues play out under different business and regulatory scenarios.

Prospective authors should submit short abstracts for review and comment as soon as possible. Extended abstracts or outlines should be submitted by July 31, 1997, to ensure consideration for this activity. Acceptances of abstracts and outlines are conditional pending receipt of a satisfactory draft by November 13, 1997.

This activity seeks to advance policy development processes by combining regulatory, economic and technological perspectives. Papers should be written in a clear, non-technical manner (technical appendices are permitted) for a mixed, interdisciplinary audience. Although the activity will focus on the impact of the Internet in advanced communications environments, papers that address implications and lessons for policy development in other countries are also invited.

Papers will be published as a volume in the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project's series with the MIT Press.

Copyright assignment is not required and parallel or subsequent publication of individual papers in journals is encouraged.

Please send paper proposals and requests for subsequent announcements to:

Ms. Nora O'Neil, Project Coordinator

Information Infrastructure Project

Harvard University

John F. Kennedy School of Government

79 John F. Kennedy St.

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

Tel. +1 617-496-1389

Fax: +1 617-495-5776

Email nora_o'

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