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VoIP Pioneer Predicts A Roiling 2005 for IP Telephony

Open source software communications will begin to influence the VoIP market in a big way next year, according to VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver, who released his predictions for the roiling Internet telephoning market for 2005 on Monday.

Pulver, who heads the industry standard VON (Voice on the Net) conferences and publications, said open source software for VoIP PBXs is progressing at a rapid rate. "It will continue to gain momentum, the effects of which will be felt in the next 12 to 18 months," he said.

In his predictions for 2005, Pulver also said some VoIP start-ups will flame out while others will launch IPOs. In addition, he said governments around the world will take harder looks at regulating VoIP and, in the U.S., Congress will consider rewriting the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with an eye to VoIP.

Pulver said the open source software movement in VoIP is gathering momentum faster than is generally realized. He pointed to the effort by Asterisk users worldwide to create a VoIP PBX. "They are developing a sophisticated PBX on a PC with the (capability) of a $100,000 PBX," he said. "It will be a world class PBX that runs on Linux. You can have a PBX for the cost of a PC."

The Asterisk PBX runs on Linux and provides three VoIP protocols. The software PBX provides voicemail services with directory, call conferencing and a host of additional telephony calling services. Its developers maintain that Asterisk can merge voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. "Once it overcomes the stigma of being free, it should take off," said Pulver.

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