Is VoIP Worth Paying For?

Voice over Internet Protocol has many attractions to small businesses and consumers but chief among these is the option to make cheap or free internet calls.

The big test of VoIP will be whether people are actually willing to pay for the service. One of the reasons why Skype is so popular is because it allows to you make free worldwide calls from PC to PC between Skype users. Now that Microsoft has bought Skype there is every chance that they will try to monetise the service.

But it is not only the big corporations that are looking to get their money's worth. The Federal communications Commission of America is eyeing the chance to levy a connection fee on VoIP.

So far VoIP has been free of the traditional charges that are levied on companies like Verizon, which allows VoIP companies such as Vonage to undercut their rates.

Verizon is obviously not happy with this state of affairs as reflected by its filing to the FCC: “The top priority remains the urgent need to decide the proper compensation rate for VoIP traffic. The commission should immediately set a single, low national default rate of $0.0007 per minute for this traffic.”

They have seen the decreasing use of Public Switched Telephone Networks, and with it a huge decrease in revenue.

As the FCC looks at moving toward a broadband-based network it has to focus on the return on investment.

Dale Hatfield, a former chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, told Politico: “You’ve got an antiquated telephone network out there. It should be gotten rid of, but there’s an awful lot of money being made on that network.”

On the other hand VoIP suppliers say that they provide information rather than communications and should not be subject to the same charges and rates as traditional communications companies.

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