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Vonage hangs up on some callers

VoIP company suffers "delays," the second glitch in two weeks. Those affected are told to reboot their adaptors.

Net phone company Vonage on Thursday confirmed that some of its 200,000 customers experienced a temporary "delay" in their service.

The delays were limited to customers in Boston, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Greensborough, N.C, according to company spokeswoman Brooke Schulz. She said that the periodic delays lasted 30 minutes and required people to reboot their adaptors to regain service.

"There were intermittent service delays in a few areas," Schulz said. "They were only regarding inbound calls" for the four regions.


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However, CNET News.com readers and message board postings on Broadband Reports said there were service outages that spanned more areas including Dallas, Las Vegas, San Diego and parts of California. New York City remained up and running, according to the message board.

"I noticed my phone down and looked for a service advisory," said Christopher Alghini, who runs sales at San Diego-based Web hosting company BasicLink. "The next thing I knew their site was down."

Alghini said his outage lasted about 90 minutes.

Vonage's Schulz insisted that the glitch did not cause service outages and said there could be other reasons for these issues, such as broadband service problems. She declined to elaborate on the nature of the technical issue.

The delays come nearly two weeks after Vonage suffered its first outage since it launched 18 months ago. The company blamed the problem on Global Crossing, which hosts Vonage's Web site. Global Crossing denied that it suffered any problems that led to the outage.

Vonage is one of the leading sellers of Net phone service, which typically uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Many of the biggest telecom players--including AT&T, the Baby Bell local phone companies and cable companies--have launched, or are planning to release, their own Net phone services.

Unlike traditional copper-wire phone services, VoIP runs on a high-speed broadband connection. Operating on the Internet frees the service from government regulations and lessens the cost of phone service for consumers.

While still in its infancy, VoIP is expected to boom in the next few years. By 2007, there will be approximately 5 million Net phone subscribers in the United States, Stratecast Partners predicted.

For customers who have made the switch, outages--however brief--still cause headaches. Alghini is a fan of Vonage, describing its benefits as "huge for price and for features." But much to his dismay, Thursday's issue forced him to cancel an important conference call.

"The guys I worked with were on a project this morning," he said. "I had to postpone the project until I got back online."