XConnect and iPeerX Join Forces

This is my first chance to blog at Fall VON, and just have time to cover this one. I'll be posting later about the keynotes from this morning by Jeff Pulver and Ted Leonsis of AOL.

Lots of interesting news releases at VON, and I wanted to comment on one I have had some history with. Today, the XConnect Alliance announced its acquisition of iPeerX. This is good news for the VoIP peering space, as XConnect moves further along the path to creating critical mass. VoIP peering has not yet become a necessary condition for carriers to succeed with IP, but slowly, the value proposition is becoming more relevant for carriers.

Both companies have had modest success signing up carriers to peer with them, but XConnect has been able to take their vision further, and are better positioned to become a consolidator. They have already shown this with an earlier acquisition of German-based e164.info in May.

Consolidation is happening across the board in the IP space, and peering is no exception. Peering is very much a volume business, and platforms such as the XConnect Alliance need to keep building their track record to demonstrate proof of concept especially for the Tier 1s, who will be the last to join the party. That�s when VoIP peering will really become exciting, but to get there, the foundation must be built among the willing and able, which for now, are primarily Tier 2/Tier 3 carriers with a strong commitment to IP.

The details of this deal are just as interesting as the bigger picture. XConnect founder and CEO Eli Katz announced the acquisition at a press conference this morning, and joining him was Kingsley Hill, who was President of iPeerX. Kingsley will now take on strategic business development for the multi-lateral peering federation XConnect is trying to build among it members. Between these companies, there are over 300 carriers on board, with the world�s largest VoIP ENUM registry � over 8.5 million active subscriber numbers. As such, there is definitely a strong base to build from here.

VON followers would know that iPeerX is a Jeff Pulver initiative that has been following its own course until now. This move makes sense for them, as it keeps them in the game, and it seems clear that the better route is to be part of a bigger pie than trying to keep a smaller slice to yourself � especially since there will only be room for a couple of players once this market goes mainstream. IPeerX hasn�t yet secured a large-scale win like the one XConnect achieved with the Dutch cable VoIP providers � so better to go with the flow, and help build this momentum. Jeff, who is never far from the center of where IP is going, will remain involved as a member of XConnect�s Advisory Board.

Disclosure � I am an Advisor to XConnect, and have tried to present this news as objectively as possible. If you feel I have overlooked or omitted anything of note, I welcome your comments.