ISPhone proposes industry alliance

Company claims Asterix 'cowboys' are giving VoIP providers a bad name

VoIP provider, ISPhone Australasia, is attempting to create a neutral industry group to help regulate and oversee the quality of services offered by providers and their resellers.

CTO, James Spenceley, said it had already begun talks with Engin, MyNetPhone, IProvide and PowerTel to get the ball rolling but it was still early days. The structure of the group had yet to be defined.

"We've made some initial approaches and had some good feedback," he said. "We want the group to be open to basically anyone with a stake in the VoIP industry. It won't be some exclusive group like G9 or something."

Spenceley said there was a broad raft of issues the group could set its mind to, including the growing number of "cowboy" operators working in the VoIP market with the free Asterisk open source telephone system.

"We have issues with people who embrace Asterix with glee and figure out how to install it, but don't have the right skill sets to take it from there," he said. "Asterix is great if you know what you're doing, but these cowboys will install a system for $5000 and then leave businesses with a very expensive phone system when it breaks."

An industry group could go some way to helping educate the market on what to look out for in an IP installation, Spenceley said.

"When there's a business with a proper team behind it, Asterix is fine," he said. "We're just getting so many calls from people saying, 'I can't get a hold of the guy who installed my Asterix and now it's broken', that it definitely needs further discussion within the industry."