What is VoIP/Internet
VoIP allows you to make telephone calls using a
computer network, over a data network like the Internet. VoIP converts
the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that
travels over the internet then converts it back at the other end so
you can speak to anyone with a regular phone number. When placing a
VoIP call using a phone with an adapter, you'll hear a dial tone and
dial just as you always have. VoIP may also allow you to make a call
directly from a computer using a conventional telephone or a
How Can I Place a VoIP Call?
Depending on the service, one way to place a
VoIP call is to pick up your phone and dial the number, using an
adaptor that connects to your existing high-speed Internet connection.
The call goes through your local telephone company to a VoIP provider.
The phone call goes over the Internet to the called party's local
telephone company for the completion of the call. Another way is to
utilize a microphone headset plugged into your computer. The number is
placed using the keyboard and is routed through your cable modem.
What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?
A broadband (high speed Internet) connection
is required. This can be through a cable modem, or high speed
services such as DSL or a local area network. You can hook up an
inexpensive microphone to your computer and send your voice through a
cable modem or connect a phone directly to a telephone adaptor.
Is there a difference between making a
Local Call and a Long Distance Call?
Some VoIP providers offer their services for free, normally only
for calls to other subscribers to the service. Your VoIP provider may
permit you to select an area code different from the area in which you
live. This means you may not incur long distance charges if you call a
number in your area code regardless of geography. It also means that
people who call you may incur long distance charges depending on their
area code and service.
Some VoIP providers charge for a long distance call to a number
outside your calling area, similar to existing, traditional wireline
telephone service. Other VoIP providers permit you to call anywhere at
a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes.
If I have VoIP service, who can I call?
Depending upon your service, you might be limited only to other
subscribers to the service, or you may be able
to call any phone number, anywhere in the world. The call can be made
to a local number, a mobile phone, to a long distance number, or an
international number. You may even utilize the service to speak with
more than one person at a time. The person you are calling does not
need any special equipment, just a phone.
What Are Some Advantages of Internet Voice?
Because VoIP is digital, it may offer
features and services that are not available with a traditional phone.
If you have a broadband internet connection, you need not maintain and
pay the additional cost for a line just to make telephone calls.
With many VoIP plans you can talk for
as long as you want with any person in the world (the requirement is
that the other person has an Internet connection). You can also talk
with many people at the same time without any additional cost.
What Are Some disadvantages of Internet
If you're considering replacing your
traditional telephone service with VoIP, there are some possible
Some VoIP services don't
work during power outages and the service provider may not offer
Not all VoIP services
connect directly to emergency services through 9-1-1.
VoIP providers may or may
not offer directory assistance/white page listings.
Can I use my Computer While I talk on the
Can I Take My Phone Adapter with me When I
You may be able to use your VoIP service wherever you travel as long
as you have a high speed Internet connection available. In that case
it would work the same as from your home or business.
Does my Computer Have to be Turned on?
Not if you are making calls with a phone and adaptor or special VoIP
phone, but your broadband Internet connection needs to be active. You
can also use your computer while talking on the phone.
How Do I Know If I have a VoIP phone Call?
It will ring like any other call.
Does the FCC Regulate VoIP?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to create an
environment promoting competition and innovation to benefit consumers.
Historically, the FCC has not regulated the Internet or the services
provided over it. On February 12, 2004, the FCC found that an entirely
Internet-based VoIP service was an unregulated information service. On
the same day, the FCC began a broader proceeding to examine what its'
role should be in this new environment of increased consumer choice
and what it can best do to meet its role of safeguarding the public
Aspects of these considerations may
change with new developments in internet technology. You should
always check with the VoIP service provider you choose to confirm any
advantages and limitations to their service.
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