Voipfone - The Future Of Communication

Universal VoIP is Coming

dreamstime_xs_87940298Forgive me if I’ve said this before but back in the 90s BT tried to make a case for re-cabling Britain. It failed and in the process it and the UK lost out to the world.

Where it once led the world, it now plays catch up. It wasn’t all BT’s fault, it was also a failure of government policy and regulation. But in the end BT got it horribly wrong in the classic way of ignoring technical innovation preferring instead a large number of awful international joint venture deals – it’s always easier and much sexier to buy things than build them. All the deals ultimately failed for utterly predictable reasons and the loss had to be paid for by selling the best asset they had – their mobile network. The only incumbent telco in the world without a mobile network.

So much is history and now BT are beginning to get back to the original strategy. They bought a mobile network, EE, and now deliver TV by broadband. All of which is good for my pension. The next step was confirmed this week by BT when it opened consultations with the industry about closing its switched telephone network in 2025.

This is a very big deal, it means that all telephony in the UK will be VoIP in 7 years time. It’s a very necessary and brave step but it puts the UK behind when we should have been in front. Germany will do it by the end of this year.

Of course Voipfone did it 14 years ago.


emojiLast week, like many others, I deleted my FaceAche account. I did it because of the latest hoo-hah about data leaks but in truth it hadn’t been used for years. I signed up because I need to try new technologies and for a while it was useful but I lost interest after a couple of years. I checked this morning and it’s still there – apparently it remains there for 14 days and if I log back in, it won’t delete. Thoughtful.

LinkedIn seems to be almost entirely populated by chancers these days but I can see its purpose. My mouse was searching for the mythical delete button but for the moment I’ve left it be. But not without a look at my security settings. Writing this has made me take another look.

It seems an odd coincidence that as the ArseBook stuff was hitting the headlines, Voipfone, like a huge number of other UK and other European companies, is spending a lot of time and resources in making itself GDPR compliant. At first I was massively resentful of the diverted effort but as we get the work behind us and in the context of the CookedBook scandal it seems to make a lot more sense.

I’m also aware that all these huge companies that we give our data to without a second thought – AboutFace, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn – are all American and are obviously not part of the EU which the GDPR covers. If you’re selling from eBay or Amazon, where is the data processed and stored and what is being done with it? All these companies will need to comply fully with GDPR if they wish to continue to operate within Europe and a lot of UK businesses that use their services need to get contractual statements from them to comply themselves. A quick check on Google’s website tells us that ‘We are working hard to prepare for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)’ so they, at least, are not there yet. Voipfone doesn’t use any of these companies – we do everything ourselves here in the UK.

And maybe this is a little indelicate but there are a few American VoIP companies over here too. They’re mostly marketing operations with their network back in the motherland. So where is their data stored and processed? And what are they doing with it? I don’t know but by the 25th May 2018 they’ll have to tell us.

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