Will Supreme Court ruling embolden cable to port-block rival VoIP?

Forbes.com has a newly posted article that discusses the probability of high-speed Internet service providers feeling more emboldened to port-block VoIP access from subscribers to rival VoIP services.

Forbes.com has a newly posted article that discusses the probability of high-speed Internet service providers feeling more emboldened to port-block VoIP access from subscribers to rival VoIP services.

The piece, "More Worries For VoIP Vendors," seems to conclude that just because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled cable broadband providers do not have to open up their data networks to rival Internet, then those same companies may have a clear road ahead to port-block rival VoIP service providers.

The article quotes VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver as saying port blocking is a "matter of when, not if." Asked about port blocking by telcos if the ruling were to be expanded to include ILEC telephony networks, Legg Mason analyst Blair Levin said such a move might remove the "jurisdiction for stopping port blocking."

But independent telcom analyst Jon Arnold countered by saying that incumbent cable and telco broadband access providers would refrain from port blocking out of the fear of "alienating" existing customers.

"If you alienate those customers, they're going to run as soon as they get a chance," Arnold told Forbes.com. "It's a question of keeping the customers happy without selling them voice, or of selling them VoIP but making them angry because they don't have other choices."