Monday, October 20, 2003

INTERNET PHONE USE IS PICKING UP SPEED

By BEN SILVERMAN
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October 19, 2003 -- When Cameron Thomas moves to Oklahoma City next month, he'll take his Houston phone number with him - but he'll leave his phone behind.
Thomas is one of the estimated one million Americans now using their computers' Internet connections to replace or supplement traditional telephone service.

Known to techies as "voice over Internet protocol" (VoIP), Internet telephony doesn't tie a user to an area code, and its growth rates are rattling the nation's phone company establishment.

"When you have that sort of flexibility and add in the cost savings, I think people will be ready to jump on [VoIP]," said Thomas, a technician who services engineering copiers and plotters.

Thomas uses Vonage, which, along with Packet8 and VoicePulse, is one of the handful of consumer VoIP services currently available.

The territory won't be left to the small fry for long. AT&T is prepping its own VoIP offering, while cable companies, including local giant Cablevision, are testing services, as well.

Thomas has already gotten rid of his landline, something Mark Dello Russo said he's considering as well.



"I have a landline, and I backed it down to a minimum local calling plan. The only reason I've kept it is because I like the number, but I haven't touched it in months," said Dello Russo, a Veritas Software network administrator from Somerset, N.J.

Dello Russo said he tried Vonage, as well as VoicePulse, deciding on the later because he likes its options better.

And he's paying $14.99 per month for local calling and 200 minutes of long distance is a far cry from the $75 to $80 he was paying Verizon. "For $15 a month, I have zero complaints."

Free World Dialup offers free calling around the world, but users must make some investment in equipment and they can speak only with other FWD users.

Still, the service has attracted more than 57,000 users worldwide.

"My call cost to England is now zero," said Stuart Friedman, a Detroit-area lawyer who talks to his best friend and former legal partner in the U.K.

"Even as cheap as calling England is - I had it down to four cents per minute using calling cards - we were still racking up $50 per month in bills."

"I'm still using a landline for all my local calls," Friedman said. "As good as VoIP sounds, fiber is still a little better."

1 Comments:

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March 2, 2009 at 1:22 AM  

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