Verso Technologies (www.verso.com) announced the rollout of a “carrier-grade applications filter” that can block so-called bandwidth drains such as Skype, P2P messaging, streaming media, and instant messaging.
Skype is singled out in the headline of the press release. It’s not a P2P blocker, it’s a “Skype Filtering Technology.”
Verso CEO Monty Bannerman, founding CTO of the NAP of Americas, says service providers are gung-ho about his new product offering. As a “free” service, Skype is raiding the business model of service providers that want to roll out VoIP services for their customers. “They’re all telling me they hate Skype and they’re telling me that they want to do something about Skype,” said Bannerman in a telephone interview. “If you have something in your network that is costing you money and raiding your business model, I assure you you’re going to do something about it.”
Bannerman claims that Skype and other P2P applications were generating up to 30 per cent of existing network traffic load as of last year according to presentations at the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG). Since a revenue-based service provider isn’t making any money off that traffic load, it’s not a good thing, especially if they plan to offer their own flavor of VoIP to their customer base. Since making the announcement, Verso has received a number of phone calls from existing customers as well as intrigued service providers. Could this technology be used to block Vonage service? “Sure,” said Bannerman. “But we wouldn’t do that.” Bannerman drew a distinction between the more heavily US-regulated Vonage and Skype, saying that they were “different,” with Vonage required to provide E-911 service and abide by other FCC regulations, while Skype had no such state-side regulation. He believed he had a shot at selling some of his boxes to Vonage in order for that company to monitor traffic flow.
Figuring how to measure and block Skype has been a significant challenge, since the application has been difficult to measure. Verso has spent over a year and four engineering attempts to develop a platform capable of detecting, managing, and controlling Skype. “We are better than anyone else at this moment in time in detecting Skype and doing something with it, including turning it off.”
When asked if current FCC rulings and upcoming American federal legislation to prevent application blocking of any type would affect selling the Skype-blocker in the States, Bannerman didn’t seem to be worried. “The World Wide Web isn’t just about America, plunk yourself anywhere else,” he said. “This is a product for the world market,” and he pointed out that there’s a patchwork of regulatory schemes around the globe.