Trends

(VoIP) Voice Over Internet Protocol – Should You Consider Switching in 2006?

One question that I am starting to receive more of is, “What are you thoughts on VoIP service and how effective does it work?”.

The short answers are, I really welcome VoIP service and does it work, you bet, the service worked great. The end of this article, I talk about 4 reasons why you should consider switching your land-line service to VoIP.

I personally switched my local land-line service to Primus TalkBroadband in early 2004. Primus switched my phone line for me and sent me a modem in the mail to plug into my high-speed connection. Once I received the modem, I simply connected it to my high-speed connection, plugged in my phone and voila, I had telephone service.

I ran the service for just about a year and it worked great. At a cost of less than $20 per month, it was $15 per month more cost-effective than the service I was receiving from Telus. In terms of the connection and quality of voice, not a single person noticed a difference. When I told them I was using a Internet based phone system, most people were shocked and said it sounds like a regular telephone line. There were only 2 times that I had no phone service and this was a result of my high-speed cable going down for a couple of hours. Other than that, the service is great.

Since 2004, we have seen a more aggressive push for VoIP service including the new Shaw Digital Phone and Vonage. Primus still offers VoIP service.

If you are planning to make the switch and are still fearful, you really do not have anything to worry about. You will not loss any quality over having a regular land-line and in almost all cases you can still use your existing phones, which is a great bonus since it lowers the cost of switching. If you are having trouble grasping the concept of talking over the Internet as opposed to a land-line, consider this, do you actually know how a land-line works? Most people don’t, all we really care about is that the darn thing works.

Here are some reasons you might want to consider switching:

1) Cost – in most cases, VoIP service will be lower in monthly cost than regular land-line service. My caution is, really check the details of the service provider before signing anything. I have heard some negative things about Vonage and their cancellation contracts. Just ensure you are fully aware of your obligations and costs.

2) Choice – many people have had bad experiences with their regular telephone service over the years. It used to be that you had no choice. Now that consumers have the choice, you can decide whether to support the local phone company or not.

3) Portability – this feature I really liked. For example, with the Primus service, I brought my modem with me when I went back to Saskatoon. I plugged the modem in at my sister’s house, through her high-speed connection, and I had my phone number with me. This is great if you run a small business because, if you have multiple locations you can always take your business phone line with you.

4) Long Distance – Some companies like Shaw, offer free long distance in Canada and the US. Other companies like Primus allow you to have multiple area code phones numbers attached to your phone. For example, I could have gotten myself a (306) phone number attached to my Primus TalkBroadband which would have allowed people in Saskatoon to call me locally – great for families. This has real application when running a business as well. Instead of giving out a toll-free number, you can actually get a phone number within any city that you plan to do business in and have people call you locally. Really gives the impression that you are connected to the local market.

Bottom line is this, if you have been considering the switch to VoIP, my suggestion is do it. You will not be disappointed.