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Monday, July 03, 2006

Bits and pieces...Skyping and Rates

Finally, front page article in the NY Times today, "Internet Calling Pressures Bells to Lower Rates", is not to be overlooked. The development is no surprise given the quality (very high!) and cost (zero to very cheap!) of online "telephphonic" services such as Skype.

I have been pushing my colleageus to go Skype for awhile -- at least ever since I latched on to it a little over a year ago during my last months in Northern Ireland. Once you try it, it is hard to justify paying more than nominal amounts for long distance services, especially conference calls with colleagues. In fact, immediately after writing this (my third blog of the morning) I will Skype my friend Niaz at Cambrdige (UK) so he can run through a presentaiton he is scheduled to deliver tomorrow at a job interview. Pretty damn good....

The only drawback right now to Skype is that without a headset you might have problems with it, but that is minor inconvenience -- if an inconvenience at all (I have no problems with headsets, other than talking people into purchasing and using one). I believe I have seen a phone-set option for Skype at some point, but cannot remember when or what it involved.
In any case, the quality of Skyping over the internet is terrific and (most of the time) helps me with my hearing problem. Add to that the fact that there are video camera options and a really cheap landline alternative to most countries, and you have a really functional alternative to calling.

Vonage and its like are adding to the competition for telehphone companies, and for awhile it looked like the Bells were going to pursue non-market (regulatory) or similar options to deal with these -- but now it looks like they will go the competitive route. Hey, this seems like a winner for the consumer -- at least for the short term....


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