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VoIP Role in Katrina Aftermath Understated

VoIP enthusiasts say that Internet telephony played a wider role than may be generally appreciated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

VoIP delivered some important communications service after traditional landline and cell phone service collapsed, they insist, while complaining that VoIP providers should have been represented at Thursday’s FCC meeting at BellSouth facilities in Atlanta.

“Text messaging, e-mail, Web-obtained information, video blogs and other streaming media and other IP-based applications were instrumental in keeping people connected and informed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” Jeff Pulver, a VoIP expert and creator of the Voice Over Net conferences, said in an e-mail.

All application providers of IP and not just VoIP were “slighted” by not being at the meeting, Pulver noted.

“If you had a broadband connection, you had Vonage,” said Vonage spokesman Mitchell Slepian. “We’re continuing to get requests for help from the region.”

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