Friday, September 7, 2007


The local, I should say national ISP, that happens to have a telecommunications monopoly, has blocked Skype.

Don’t worry regular readers – I can still use Skype to speak to family from work as we have our own independent satellite and Internet connection.

However, we (myself and a colleague) have started to investigate workarounds. Regular international telephone calls (fixed and mobile) are exorbitant – if you look at Skype computer-to-fixed/mobile tariffs, our country is in the top five at 0.79 per minute beaten by Diego Garcia – and who calls there over a regular telecoms link?

I don’t have a fixed line as the telecoms company says they don’t have capacity in our area – so I cannot experiment.

First we need to find out what sort of filtering the ISP has installed – are they targeting Skype servers’ IP addresses or are they identifying Voice over IP (VoIP) data packets? In the former case everyone can just use a different VoIP service, in the latter it appears we can use Tor (link), eProxy (link) and BCap to get past the ISP’s filtering.

VoIP blocking is a notorious device whether for financial or political reasons. In the United Arab Emirates, another ISP/telecomms monopoly, it is financial, in China it is both.

Here, I am sure, it is financial.

There is a moratorium here on civil service calls to overseas – general abuse.

Even though the software is free, Danny and I will make a killing on installation fees

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