The VoIP Telephone Services Revolution
Ever since the birth of the internet, entrepreneurs with an eye to the future have predicted that voice communications — telephone services — would eventually be merged with internet services. With the widespread adoption of VoIP, that day has come, and it is causing a revolution in the telephone industry.
In simple terms, a VoIP service allows you to use your broadband (high-speed) connection to place telephone calls over the Internet. It is not difficult to see how this is rocking the telecom industry to the core.
**It’s all about cost**
Two things have made traditional telephone service providers like AT&T and Bell so powerful. Their monopoly over local telephone services, and their traditional stranglehold on lucrative and usually over-priced “long distance” services. Both of these captive markets have been seriously eroded over the last few years, as the reality of VoIP has started to sink in.
In anticipation of the revolution that is now upon us, most aspects of telephone service have gradually been opened up to competition. Most of us now have a choice of providers for both local and long distance telephone service. And the biggest reason for the new competitive environment is the recognition that the widespread adoption of VoIP is inevitable.
**The development of VoIP**
VoIP has been developing slowly over the last ten years or so. Early implementations allowed computer users to talk to each other through their computers. This was only feasible if you had a voice-enabled computer, a reliable and stable internet connection, and a software program installed on your computer that made it all work.
The advantage of this computer-to-computer communication was that you could completely bypass the traditional telephone system and talk to anyone in the world free of charge — as long as they had a similar setup to yours. But the disadvantages of communicating this way were also obvious. You could only communicate this way using your computer. You were completely dependent on often unstable dial-up internet connections. And the person at the other end of the conversation had to also be “online” with a voice-enabled computer.
**Today’s VoIP has solved these problems**
Today’s versions of VoIP have left these problems in the past. Two things were required to make VoIP technology feasible on a large scale basis, and both of these things have now been realized.
First, broadband internet service has been widely adopted. This makes it possible to have stable internet connections that are “always on”. Second, the industry has developed a simple, inexpensive method of integrating the IP network (the internet) with the traditional telephone system. This allows a user of VoIP to use his or her own telephone to call anyone else in the world who has a traditional telephone connection.
This is where we are today. As traditional telecom companies like AT&T, Bell, Qwest, and SBC develop their own implementations of VoIP technology the way has been opened up for a myriad of choices for consumers. Today’s VoIP allows anyone with a broadband internet connection to place calls to anyone with an ordinary telephone connection, anywhere in the world.
**Why you save money with VoIP**
The major advantages of VoIP are lower cost, and greater flexibility with no significant decrease in voice quality. First, a VoIP subscriber does not need a traditional phone line. Instead, you are assigned a phone number by your VoIP provider. Prices for these numbers can be as low as usd per month.
Second, most VoIP subscribers will purchase a “bundle” of services that includes unlimited incoming calls and unlimited long distance calls to anyone within a defined geographic area. For instance, VoIP unlimited calling plans to anyone in the USA or Canada start at around per month.
Third, most VoIP service providers offer free bundled features that most traditional telephone companies charge for. These include free voicemail, call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call waiting ID, 3 way calling, speed dialing, and many more of the services that the traditional companies are constantly trying to sell you.
**Greater flexibility and portability**
Another significant advantage is the flexibility and portability of VoIP phone service. With VoIP your personal telephone number is programmed into the converter that acts as a bridge between your internet connection and your regular telephone.
This has several important advantages. As already mentioned you do not need an actual land line. Instead your telephone number is assigned to your converter (not to your geographic land line). So you can take your converter with you anywhere in the world, plug it into any available broadband connection, and immediately start using your regular number to make and receive calls.
This flexibility also lets you choose a number in an area code where most of your long distance calls originate. For instance, if many of your friends, family, business associates or customers are calling from a specific city that traditionally involved a long distance call for them, you could choose a number in that area code and immediately turn all their calls to you into local (free) calls for them.
The advantages of VoIP are many, and the savings can be very significant. So it is no wonder that VoIP has become the hottest telecom technology of the decade. Informed consumers and businesses around the world are adopting this technology at a phenomenal rate.
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