VoIP — the true digital phone

Industry experts estimate that only 2 percent of broadband households subscribe to VoIP services, but the growth potential seems very promising.

With new technology, the greatest benefits are gained by early adopters. If you switch now and let the market mature, costs are approximately sub-$30 per phone number and significantly lower long-distance calling plans than conventional phone systems.

And, as competition grows, pricing and usage standards will be rewritten. The catch is trying to figure out which fledgling VoIP companies will stay in business for the long haul.

The drawbacks

Residential users continue to be able to only hook up one and perhaps two phones in their home that are physically located near the cable modem or DSL connection. Under current capabilities, the standard VoIP connection is not a “whole house” solution.

And, every once in a while, you may get some chatter on the line, usually when the local network gets busy. The technology is improving to prioritize the voice traffic on networks over basic Internet usage.

VoIP does demand a certain Quality of Services (QoS) on the network to achieve a business class of service. The nature of Internet traffic is ever-changing and improving, so this problem will be solved as the industry matures.

The future

The biggest issue facing VoIP is legislation. Will VoIP ultimately be controlled by the Federal Communications Commission or the Public Utilities Commission? That’s one of the most important questions.

As the FCC is trying to sort through 51 separate regulatory commissions with different interpretations of how to tax, authorize and monitor VoIP service providers, the commission will try to gain regulatory control of VoIP from the states because to thrive as a business, the technology needs a single, easy-handed regulator.

The FCC proposal will start from scratch with as few VoIP regulations as possible. The goal is not to just modify current regulations. The bottom line is that heavy regulation will stifle innovation and perhaps limit desirable services by unintentionally throwing up barriers for VoIP. The FCC says state resistance to this may be caused by public utilities commissioners trying to defend their turf rather than trying to encourage new services.

Source: Bright.net, www.bright.net