Is VoIP the ?Next Big Thing? in Telecommunications?

VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol has been simmering for the past few years. This year the market has heated up. Many large businesses have jumped on the VoIP bandwagon and have realized savings of 50-percent or more off their phone bills. VoIP providers are competing to add to or replace large PBX systems for the corporations and add web conferencing capabilities plus wireless VoIP (wVoIP) over LAN's as well.

Hospitals and other large, fragmented workforces are discovering the value of using wireless VoIP phones to converse with one another quickly and efficiently while in different wings, floors or buildings of a large facility. This kind of wireless VoIP setup can have huge cost savings over cell phones and is more efficient that using pagers.

While business VoIP has caught on in the corporate landscape, residential VoIP is still trying to take hold. This is largely because of a couple of current disadvantages of VoIP. First, not all current VoIP systems have power backups. When the power goes out in a residence, the landline is still operational. Since VoIP works over a high-speed Internet connection, which requires power, if the power goes down, so does the VoIP connection. This will be of concern to many concerned about emergency situations. The good news is that many VoIP hardware providers are starting to deliver systems with power backup to address just this issue.

The second drawback of residential VoIP is that not all current VoIP service providers offer full, 24-7 emergency 911 service. After hour calls in Florida, may be mistakenly rerouted to Idaho for instance. This is also about to change. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that all phone service providers offer e911 service as standard. According to the FCC, "All interconnected VoIP providers must automatically provide E9-1-1 services to all customers as a standard, mandatory feature without customers having to specifically request this service. VoIP providers may not allow their customers the option to "opt-out" of E9-1-1 service."

Clearly, though, residential VoIP is heading towards direct competition with the local phone companies' coveted landlines. A couple of years ago at a meeting in SBC's Publishing division, one of the executive managers cried, "Landlines, we need to stop losing landlines!" This was in response to cell phone companies taking away market share from the local Baby Bells. Now that VoIP is on the radar, the executive management teams for the local and long-distance phone companies must be huddling in their back offices, trying to figure out how they will stop the bleeding in the years to come.

With VoIP costing far less that traditional local and long-distance phone service and overcoming the last of the residential hurdles, one can be sure that consumers will soon be taking notice. Many will also start wearing t-shirt like "VoIP VIP" and "Got VoIP?" to herald in the new era in telecommunications.

Copyright © 2005 VoIP Service Providers3

VoIP Service Providers - Marvin Bellnick writes for VoIP Service Providers, a company dedicated to publishing the latest happenings in the Voice Over IP industry.

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