Next Gen interconnect carrier XConnect has in the UK today launched The HD Voice Peering Federation, a High Definition Voice initiative. This is something that was discussed at the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association (ITSPA) HD Voice workshop I chaired back in June. Whilst it is still early days should provide a good breeding ground for high quality voice interconnects amongst VoIP service providers.
Without such an initiative HD voice services would forever be high (quality) walled gardens with no contact with the outside world.
The initiative is supported initially by vendors Polycom, Broadsoft and Dialogic and has signed up Simwood, SureVoIP and thevoicefactory as ITSP partners. Clearly there will need to be more vendors and ITSPs onboard to make it a success but it is a start.
The biggest win for XConnect would be to sign up some of the UKs Tier 1 providers. Clearly these providers would need to have HD in their sights in order to do this and I’m not so sure this is the case.
BT with its IPExchange service is a competing network but without HD Voice in the roadmap. This therefore gives XConnect a competitive advantage over BT but of course the former doesn’t quite have the same marketing clout.
This does potentially set us up for an interesting competitive marketplace in the UK. HD voice is going to come – witness the Orange mobile announcement last week. The question is how quickly will everyone jump on the bandwagon and whether XConnect can gain critical mass before BT, never known for its speed of innovation, reacts.