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Three reasons why you are going to love VoIP

Aug 17, 2007
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is rapidly becoming a top choice for people wishing to avoid costly telephone service. Why? The system works by allowing you to make phone calls using a computer network, such as your Internet provider. The way it works is similar to email; most providers offer unlimited long-distance calling for a low monthly fee or for a low per-minute rate. Where long-distance fees can run high very quickly through traditional phone providers, Voice over IP can provide the same types of calls for a much lower rate. VoIP is the calling choice of the future, and providers are already scrambling to provide the best service for the best price. For the consumer, this is great news. As companies compete for business, rates and service options continue to improve. Why will you love VoIP? The following are three top reasons.

Huge Savings
Imagine being able to keep your current phone number and make as many long distance calls as you wish (within a certain area) for one low price. No more fluctuating phone bills, outrageous long distance charges, or other surcharges that repeatedly shows up on your bill. Voice over IP offers just that. Just as email changed how people communicate, so too will VoIP.

Depending on the provider you choose, you may be able to combine your Internet service with your phone service into one lower monthly bill. As VoIP becomes more common, it will be available in more areas. However, even for those who are not yet able to change their local number to Voice over IP, there is still the option of switching your long distance. This requires a phone number outside of your area code, but the savings will be well worth it. Further, if you make many phone calls to a particular area code, choose a number from that area and your contacts will be able to call you as if it were a local call. Not a bad way to go while you're waiting for local service!

Options
Voice over IP comes with many options, including both the ones you are used to as well as some new ones. Imagine checking your phone calls through your computer while you are traveling, or having an email sent to you every time you have a new voice mail message! The technologies that integrate your computer and your phone service are opening up a whole new playing field in communications. VoIP combined with your computer, mobile phone, and other gadgets will keep you more connected than ever. Of course, if you choose not to be connected, that is possible as well. Many Voice over IP providers include features you're used to, such as caller ID, call waiting, and call forwarding. You may also have the option to block callers, use an "away" message, or "do not disturb" options.

Additional features may include three-way calling (again avoiding costly charges), speed dialing, distinctive rings, and many other options. Moreover, if you don't want to give up some of the benefits to which you've become accustomed, many providers offer directory assistance (for a fee, although this could change) and the ability to access 911 emergency personnel, which is a concern for many people.

It's Not Going Anywhere
VoIP is the future of calling. As the technology evolves, more and more integration options will come available. Depending on the use, you may be ready to switch over now and enjoy the cost savings. For home users, switching to Voice over IP can be a very cost-saving option, particularly for those who make many long-distance calls. Home-based businesses may also benefit from switching. Larger business may do well to wait a bit, or start integrating the technology on a smaller scale. As VoIP evolves, so too will options for larger businesses.

When making the switch to VoIP, do a bit of research to choose the best option. Avoid getting locked-into a long-term contract, as new providers are competing with existing ones, and you'll want to take advantage of better rates and services if the come along. The basic information to look into includes:

* If local numbers are available in your area.
* If you can call 911 emergency services.
* What the flat rate is for long-distance calling.
* What geographic areas are included in the unlimited long-distance plan.
* The services available and extra costs, such as directory assistance.
* The terms of the contract.
About the Author
Mike Singh is a researcher who provides unbiased reviews of technology-related products for consumers looking for quality information. Checkout his latest VoIP-related research - why switch to VoIP .
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