Monday, December 19, 2005


Coolness coupled with assholery

Another thing I had been hearing about periodically for whatever reason and decided to check it out. Not really knowing what it was I was honestly expecting a new p2p application. I was very wrong. Skype is telephone on the internets. The exceedingly cool part of this is that if you're call goes from net to net it is 100% free - which is a very cool way of sticking it to the telco. You can even dial out to 'normal' phone numbers and 'normal' phones can dial in for an understandable fee. To dial out of Skype it is something like 2.3 cents a minutes to most popular destinations (USA, Canada, Western Europe, China, Australia etc) and slightly more to anywhere else.

You know how I mentioned the sticking to the telco and the assholery? Well they are linked. There are reports 'from the fringe' of certain [telco based] ISPs blocking Skype. Aside from seriously pissing people like me off and hurting their image in general I really don't think it accomplishes much of anything. I still need my cell, and I don't have a house phone to begin with. Of course not everyone is like me but if you have a land line already you 'usually need it for some reason' (tm). Otherwise it stands to reason that if you also have a cell phone you would just use that, and though its cheap to dial out Skype out and Skype in together cost $30 a month plus 2.3 cents a minute (which only applies to outbound calls - I think - ). The average monthly phone bill is something like $30 - $35 a month. I could see it working out if you have a lot of international calls, or in other special cases... but we already started with the assumption (the mother of all f-ck ups mind you) that there was a special reason which in general I don't think is covered. If however it does work up that the telco is losing money its still anticompetitive and monopolistic.

As developed nations moved increasingly to web and away from old ways this will become increasingly more useful. It also (like netsukuku) has great implications for developing nations. As the $100 laptop rolls out and broadband over powerlines becomes more prevalent I could see a certain type of country skipping circuit switched networks for free telephony, with bandwidth delivered by existing infrastructure and routing etc taken care of by client computers - not that it would happen.... though it would be 'kind of f-cking cool' (tm).


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