With VoIP technology entering the main stream, it brings the possibilities or huge profits for the companies that provide the service. The current promise of cost savings is driving more and more residential and business users to investigate this technology. But the local telephone companies are not going to give up customers without a fight.
There is a current mandate by the US federal government that all VoIP providers offer E911 service. The initial blocking of this information was with the public switched telephone network maintained by the major telephone companies.
The next stumbling block is 'naked DSL' or DSL access without local phone service. This service is rare, but without it a residence would not be able to use VoIP as their primary phone service mechanism. You see, DSL is running over your existing phone line provided by your local telephone company. Drop your local phone service and you'll probably drop your broadband DSL access as well. (Cable broadband access is a viable solution here and the increased cost in cable access should be offset by the reduction on your monthly phone bill)
These are just two fronts in the battle over VoIP. Should companies be compensated for the infrastructures that build? Should E911 service be 'free' and offered as a public service? What about the existing phone service run into our homes? Who pays for those lines to be laid and hooked into the public switched telephone network?
There really are no easy answers to the questions above. The phone companies are not about to give up customers without a fight. They have years and billions of dollars spent in building one of the most reliable communications networks 'currently' known to us.
Is VoIP the next step in the emerging communications industry? How will this play out with phone companies offering internet and TV services and cable providers offering phone and internet service? The line is being disturbed and yet the technology pushes forward.
I do not have the answers, only questions. I know how I'd like to see it all play out, but alas, there is no Nirvana and no, it would seem we all can not get along. Not when there's literally billions of dollars at stake. There will be winners and losers as this war rages on, but it is my hope that we, the end users, will, in the end, be better for it. After all, we've been down this path many times before and it's turned out ok.
Remember the advent of the PC and where we've gone since then? Remember the first bulky cellular phones vs. what's available today? Yes, TV's, radios, computers, phones the list goes on. Technology advances will continue to push us into new directions. I'm sure that in the end, VoIP will be as commonplace as the home computer.
We can leverage this technology today in a cost effective manner. Like any technology how you implement VoIP will make the difference. Whether you're a residential or business user, there can be an immediate benefit. Check with your communications broker to find out if your existing phone needs can be met cost effectively with VoIP.