Free conference calling services, adult chat lines and other "traffic pumping" services are often reached through the telephone exchanges of very small, rural operators. In a legal but questionable arbitrage scheme, these calling services choose these rural exchanges precisely for their high termination charges -- the fees that sending carriers pay them to complete (terminate) the calls. Charging as much as twenty times the typical domestic termination rate, the rural telco then splits the profits with the service. While carriers have responded by blocking calls to those numbers, Junction Networks has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.
The move allows Junction Networks' customers to continue using these services at their discretion. They have the option to control access to any call costing more than 2.9 cents per minute by simply completing an online extended dialing form.
"Free conference calling and other 'traffic pumping' services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls," said Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. "As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate."
"In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options and at the same time, allow our customers to call any number they choose, we have decided to charge the market rate for calls to the designated areas used by these services."
"We've all heard the saying, 'There's no such thing as a free lunch.' Well, Junction Networks has chosen to take the approach of providing access, but also has chosen not to lose money by providing it," said Andy Abramson, author of VoIPWatch
, a widely read industry site that covers all things IP communications. "Each side gets what it wants, and as the carrier, Junction Networks eliminates the subsidization that had been at play. I think it's a model more access providers