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California requires VOIP registration now

California requires VOIP phone services to register and be regulated now.

We received notice yesterday from the California Public Utilites Commission that they are now requiring Voip service providers to register with the CA Public Utilities Commission to provide VOIP phone services to California residents and businesses.

We provide registered agent service for VOIP services registering with the CA Public Utilities Commission for $125 a year. If you are already a registered agent client for the CA Secretary of State, we do not charge extra for acting as your designated agent for service of process with the Utilites Commission. The Voip registration form is in your online account pre-populated with our info on it. You can sign up for immediate California VOIP registration registered agent service here: if you do not already have our California registered agent service.

Generally speaking, I’m anti any more regulation, but from my own experiences, I think this is a nice addition of regulation and will hopefully make the more legit VOIP services stand out from the sketchy ones.

We tried going with VOIP. But it failed miserably. We tried quite a few different services… After 3-4 months of it sucking, we finally started figuring out that most these guys were just running high grade residential internet into the garage of the LA or Silicon Valley mansion and a few people trying to do another startup that they could sell off for millions.

These companies were horrible to work with and provided really bad service. You would call them and they wouldn’t answer, and when they finally would, they would just blame your internet. (We have 80 some megs down and 22 up over redundant lines.)

I think VOIP phone service IS the way of the future, but it sure has a long way to go.

Here’s my troubles with VOIP.

1. You are relying on the quality of the internet over the ENTIRE length of a call. So let’s say you go with one of these VOIP services you find online. They send you the phones, you hook them up. You place a call from Coeur d Alene, Idaho, it goes downstream through some crappy lines to a tier one line in Spokane, WA (Or wherever the hub is near you,) it then jumps to Seattle(The main main hub in our region,) it then jumps to San Jose (A secondary type of hub of sorts,) it then jumps down to LA or wherever your VOIP service has their PBX, their PBX, then connects with their DID provider and there’s only a few of them, it has to pretty much jump all the way back to Seattle, and then to Denver, then the DID provider routes the call through wherever the DID Tier one network is actually, over to wherever you’re calling. Let’s say that person you’re calling is in Alabama. Your call then goes down a tier one line and over to some hokey poke small town network that hasn’t been updated for 25 years because they don’t make enough money to care and connects to someones phone. Now everytime they talk and you talk, those packets of info have to be carried at light speed all throughout all those hops. It’s not REALLY the voip services fault… It’s just that they don’t control the lines that all your packet data goes over and you’re litterally counting on 7 different providers to all work perfectly. If you’re from some place like Coeur d Alene, Idaho, the internet lines are actually owned by some crappy old school company that subs out the billing of internet to a horrible company like Time Warner Cable, who could care less about the quality of it’s interent. There are SO many local companies that actually own the internet lines and sub out the capacity to huge services that rebill it, that it’s just a nightmare to track down where the call goes bad.
2. Your phones have to always be pinging your VOIP services PBX way off somewhere off site. That slows down your internet speed and can really back up if they reach a problem along the way.
3. Your VOIP service doesn’t own your numbers… You don’t even own your numbers. This was the mindboggling revelation to me. None of us have any control over our numbers… So the federal government highly regulates phone companies… They spend thousands of dollars to establish themselves as a utility company. Because of this, they get issued huge blocks of hundreds of thousands of phone numbers and IPs. These monster old school companies like Bell South, PacWest, XO, and others actually own our numbers. They are the only people that control these numbers. So then there’s services like Vitelity and others that go out and buy these blocks of DIDs from tier one companies. Then the DID agregator sells the rights to use these DIDs to a VOIP service, and the voip service sells the right to you. So before we tried our VOIP service out, our telephone number was with a tier one provider…. But it got ported over to what I thought was just a minor detail in signing up with a VOIP service… Oh no!!! The second you sign up with a VOIP service and port your number over, you have NO idea of who even controls it. The VOIP service literally cannot do anything about it, you go up the ladder to their DID agregator, and they have zero control over it. Then you go up the DID guys ladder to the Tier one provider and they won’t talk to you. They say they legally can’t, even though it’s your info on the registration, but then somehow part of the registration becomes into either the DID agregators contact details or the VOIP guys contact details, or it never got updated like 10 years ago, and it’s still technically owned by the original tier one provider and under XO’s name because they don’t update their info to the CAM registry and this entire decade someone at XO could have just given your number away to someone else, because you have never actually been listed as the technical owner of the number. Get all that? What a freaking nightmare!!!

There REALLY needs to be a central registry like a domain whois where you can control your own telephone number, you control the name it’s under, you pay yearly for this right, and you can point the number to a server or somewhere like adjusting your DNS on your website to point to a host.

So unless you have a seriously talented VOIP service provider they are incompetent at getting your number ported over. Which I found every VOIP service really sucked at porting.

Ultimately, after a year of trying, we ended up having to dump 3 different voip guys. The last company was the worst. They kept billing us and they were unable to even get the original service order going!! They bought a bunch of temp DIDs and were trying to act like they were providing a service to us, but we all had like 3 phones on our desks for 6 months waiting for them, and they ultimately were never able to get our phone numbers over into their system. So we ended up just going back to old school lines. Unfortunately.

This whole time, I would have loved to complain to someone about this last scam company. I’m not going to say their name as of now… Maybe at some point I will list it here. The last company we used was just flat out a scam, the other two just sucked. I tried sending complaint letters to various agencies and most of them said they were just an unregulated industry. So for that alone, maybe this will force the entire industry to accept that VOIP someday will be how all phones work… But they just won’t work very well untill the people that own the physical internet lines update their networks and cabling to handle this new type of internet traffic and the extreme speed needed to not lose packets.

This entry was posted in Opinion.