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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Vonage

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

Telecom is the world's largest market, with the most incumbents in place, and it's ready for a revolution - broadband phone service. Voice over IP (VoIP) technology removes the concepts of distance and time from the telephone infrastructure. By leveling the playing field of telephony to operate over the Internet, new services like Vonage are making the cost-savings and features of advanced Internet services accessible to the average consumer. Vonage is the first broad-scale offering of high-quality VoIP for the consumer marketplace.

The old business model for telecommunications services relied on protection from market forces. Current regulatory and tax structures protect the incumbent monopoly, enabling the incumbents to recover their costs - money spent maintaining and upgrading an archaic system, built decades ago - and hampering competition. These are all problems that Vonage is solving by harnessing the power of broadband to create an Internet-based infrastructure rife with network capacity, efficient architectures and sound operating models.

The future of phone service will allow customers to get onto the phone network just like they get on the Internet: dial in from anywhere; use any phone number anywhere; talk as long as you like; access it with multiple devices and use advanced, integrated services from various providers. Vonage allows customers to use the Internet today to make and receive toll-quality phone calls worldwide, driving cost and infrastructure efficiencies through its network and the marketplace. The real benefit of services like Vonage - aside from the clear economic advantages for consumers and the telecom marketplace - will be removing the voice network from the control of the traditional phone system operators. Though the market for broadband phone service is limited (in the short-term) to the 20 million people in the US who have high-speed Internet access; Vonage will soon have an addressable market of 55 million by 2006. Vonage is bringing affordable phone service, unlimited calling and advanced features to consumers today, meeting the demand for choice in the local phone service market.