Internet and Technology Presentations, Workshops, Training, Melbourne, Australia

Connecting businesses with customers

Cut Your Family Phone Bill Using the Internet

Michael Grose Parenting Report, Volume 9 Issue 4, Page 3
Article by Melissa Norfolk
Accredited professional speaker

Chances are, the larger your family, the larger your phone bill! If you are already paying for broadband internet access you could be maximising your dollars spent by using your internet connection to make telephone calls.

Making phone calls over the internet is now accessible to most Australian homes and can help to drastically reduce your phone bill. VoIP, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband internet connection.

The VoIP service can be used with a regular telephone and can be used to call both normal telephone services (e.g. fixed line and mobile) as well as other internet users with a VoIP service. Making a telephone call using VoIP is identical to normal phone services, i.e. pick up the telephone, wait for the dial tone, and then dial the number you want to call.

Why use VoIP

The main reason for using VoIP is to reduce telephone costs in comparison to traditional fixed line services. As an example, some Australian VoIP providers charge as little as 10 cents for untimed national calls and international calls can be under 5 cents per minute.

VoIP also helps to increase the number of telephone lines available at your home at a competitive cost. Nominating the VoIP line as the primary outgoing line ensures maximum cost savings and helps free up existing lines for incoming calls.

If you have a two way VoIP service this will include a standard 10-digit telephone number enabling you to both make and receive calls with your VoIP service.

Who is VoIP suited to

VoIP can be suitable for families (with a teenager!) who regularly use the telephone, have friends and family interstate or overseas and have a phone bill in excess of $100 per month. Households and Home-based businesses can achieve significant cost saving, if they have an above average telephone usage.

VoIP weaknesses

The most important thing to be aware of is that you will need to rely on more services when using VoIP. For traditional phone calls, all you need is a phone line and a handset and you can receive and make calls. For VoIP phone calls you need a phone line, an active internet connection, electricity and a computer which needs to be turned on.

The quality of VoIP phone calls is improving all the time but does rely on the speed of your internet connection and if the speed slows down while you are on a call you may experience muffled sounds and delays. These quality issues will reduce if you have a higher speed broadband connection.

You should also be aware that if you have a low monthly download limit on your internet plan, VoIP services will use up your download limit so it may be worth considering increasing your plan if you will be making lots of VoIP phone calls.

Another disadvantage is that if you use a VoIP phone to make an emergency call, the operator may be unable to determine your location at a time of urgent need.

The Current state of Play

VoIP is an emerging technology that is overall relatively stable and reliable. However, given the occasional glitches and downtime experienced with normal Internet Connectivity, it is currently recommended using VoIP as a second line only.

Using VoIP as a second line, outgoing calls are made on the VoIP line, allowing for substantial reduced call costs, while at the same time allowing incoming calls to be received on existing phone line(s). Should an internet connection be down by your normal service provider, the conventional telephone would be available as a backup.

VoIP is still an emerging technology and while it does allow for considerable cost savings it doesn't replace the need for a conventional phone line in your home.

Internet expert, Melissa Norfolk, speaks to business, school and community groups about effective use of the internet, finding what you need online, internet safety and online marketing.

For more information phone (03) 9816 3488.

Copyright © 2008 Melissa Norfolk Technology Presentations