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Vonage In The News
Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

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Vonage, a VT2142 and a RTP300, My Experiences - A Detailed Review
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Salt Lake City: impressions after several months
Salt Lake City: impressions after several months




Vonage Reviews

Voice Over Internet Telephone


Vonage In Print News

Voice Over Internet Challenges Telephone
Agere Taking Part In Technology's Rollout. U.S. Is Slow To Adopt


June 27, 2004

By Jeanne Bonner

Experts have long predicted the death of traditional home telephone service, in large part because of the deployment of wireless services such as the cell phone.

Plain old telephone service, as it is known in the industry, will die. But it turns out its executioner will more likely be Voice over Internet Protocol, rather than the cell phone.

Voip is finally beginning to gather steam in the United States. The technology uses a high-speed broadband Internet connection to make telephone calls. The calls travel at least part of the way on an Internet protocol network rather than the public switches that make up the telephone infrastructure.

A number of companies are introducing products designed for VoIP, including Agere Systems. Voip offers broadband providers a marketable service beyond Internet access. That dovetails with the rise of broadband subscription rates as people prefer higher speed connections at home.

Voip calls are typically cheaper than normal switched calls because the telephone provider does not have to open a dedicated circuit as it does in traditional landline telephone service. Instead of circuit switching, Voip uses packet-switching to send the data signals that make up a phone call in chunks. It sends calls over a data network like one of the many networks that make up the Internet.

Vonage, a Edison, N.J., broadband phone company, is offering Voip calling plans for local and long-distance service priced from $14.99 to $29.99 a month, not including cost of broadband connection. AT&T's IP calling plans are priced from $19.99 as an introductory rate to $34.99 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calls. With some Voip services, there are no taxes and no access fees.

''It will probably be the biggest transformation in telecom in 100 years,'' said Verizon spokeswoman Briana Gowing. ''There have been enhancements over the years but this is really shaking things up.''

This summer, Verizon will offer its digital subscriber line (DSL) customers a converter box with an adapter that will allow customers to make IP-based calls. The box converts the telephone's analog signals to digital. The adapter will connect a consumer's telephone with a computer modem that will send calls out over the Internet. Verizon has not said how much the box will cost. The company will be offering new Voip calling plans with the boxes.

The company has 2.7 million DSL subscribers in the United States. Verizon's DSL service is available to some residents in Allentown and Bethlehem. It is still not available in some more suburban areas in the region.

AT&T can bypass local lines

The new Voip technology offers an alternative to traditional telephone service in more ways than one. AT&T's Voip service is a way for the company to offer local service without renting parts of the telephone network from Verizon and the other Baby Bells. That allows the company to grow its customer base and offer services that don't include access fees.

Some cable companies also offer Internet protocol calling.

VoIP, or Voice-over-DSL, as one form is called, has been slow to catch on in the United States partly because of the vast legacy infrastructure left over from the Bell Telephone monopoly. The current state of competition in which upstart phone companies must rent network components from the Baby Bells has slowed the proliferation of VoIP. Federal regulations have until recently forced the Baby Bells to open up their network to competitors, which creates a disincentive to upgrade the network.

''They are worried if they implement a new technology, other companies will rent their network,'' said Samir Samhouri, marketing director for Agere's multiservice networking division.

Other countries such as South Korea are far ahead of the United States in use of VoIP, in large part because they have accelerated the deployment of broadband. The new calling technology requires a high-speed broadband connection from via cable modem, DSL or fiber-optics.

Quality is improving

Another reason for the lag in VoIP's popularity up until now is a significant service reliability issue.

''The quality has only recently improved enough for people to take it seriously,'' Gowing said.

Many experts predicted consumers would abandon traditional telephone service once cell phones proliferated. But because of the unreliability of cell-phone service, 95 percent of mobile subscribers still have a traditional landline, according to research firm the Yankee Group.

Instead, Voip is the technology that could cancel existing local telephone service contracts. According to telecommunications research firm RHK, there are currently 11 million Voip subscribers who use DSL to connect. That number will grow at a rate of 90 percent a year through 2007, RHK said.

Industry insiders say telephone service providers have few reasons not to get behind VoIP. Skyline Marketing President John Celentano, who gave a presentation at the Supercomm convention last week in Chicago, said increased competition and customer demand render the technology an essential product. VoIP's also offers lower capital investments.

''Bell companies have no choice but to migrate to ,'' Celentano said. ''By 2020, I expect the bulk of the network to be converted.''

Agere's 'personal broadband'

Agere, which supplies chips to telecom equipment-makers such as Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, believes Voip is the wave of the future and part of what the company calls ''personal broadband.'' Last week, it introduced a new technology that can be paired with its network processors to improve the performance of such applications as VoIP. The Hanover Township, Lehigh County, chipmaker has teamed up with customers Marconi and Fujitsu and their customer, British Telecom, to develop the technology. Agere is seeking a patent on the innovation, which is called Unbreakable Access.



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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