Internet telephony service provider Free World Dial Up (FWD) has decided that free isn’t making ends meet anymore. They’ve announced that their previous free service will now cost $30/year. FWD is an interconnected SIP network that allows users to connect with each other for voice, IM, and video applications. FWD does not interconnect with the PSTN. They claim to have “near a million” users worldwide. FWD was founded by IP telephony pioneer Jeff Pulver, who also cofounded Vonage. In his blog, Pulver notes, “I don’t know if anyone predicted that the entire VoIP industry would end up with business models dependent on traditional telecom revenues, but it seems hard to deny with Skype, Jajah, Ribbit, and a long list of others chasing per minute revenues.” Seems like the VoIP free ride is coming to a close. Offering services for free may provide you a real competitive advantage, but it sure won’t put the kids through college. Any thoughts on what FWD will call itself now? “Free” no longer seems apropos.
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