While most of Israel’s start-up ecosystem knows Jeff Pulver for his wonderful hugs, amazing networking events, and his newest venture, Zula, you’d be well served to study a bit of technology history and discover that Jeff did something pretty bold.
You see, way back in 2003, Jeff filed a petition in Washington, D.C. with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to request that one his start-ups, Free World Dialup (FWD) be classified as a data service, and not a voice service.
By it’s name and reference to “dialup,” you have to remember that way before the availability of true broadband and wireless communications services that we have today, life was quite different.
We had modems in our desktop computers that would dial up our local Internet Service Provider at very slow speeds so we could send and receive email and view very rudimentary web pages and get content from services like CompuServe and AOL. And, we could even “talk” via the Internet via services like Free World Dialup.
Through tenacity, will, and a bit of good fortune, on February 12, 2004, the FCC classified Free World Dialup and companies like it, as being an Internet application and not a telephony one, thus unleashing a world that was not regulated and bound by traditional telephony tariffs and taxes.
Known as The Pulver Order, it helped to create a greenfield opportunity for entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo by developing new communication services which leveraged the broadband internet.
The petition was filed before Skype was launched. And these days, when you use free services like Face Time, Google Voice, Vonage (which Jeff played a key role in its founding,) or Google Hangouts to connect with friends, family and business associates around the world, we should all pause for a moment today and acknowledge this important date in the history of the Internet and the Communications sector.
And the next time you see Jeff Pulver on an evening walk on Rothchild Blvd., you should give him a high five.
And if you are feeling it, a big thank you hug.
– Permissionless Innovation on The Internet – by David Young, Verizon.
– A Remedy To Clueless Lawyers – by Jonathan Askin, Brooklyn Law School
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