Internet Phone Service Questions and Answers

Internet phone serviceInternet phone service has been around for a fairly long time already, yet most people have no idea what it is or how it works.  That is partially a good thing because the technology was designed to be available in such a form that it was essentially transparent to an end user, but the technology does have some great features and amazing benefits.  In order to leverage those benefits to your own needs, you need to as much possible about the technology and how it works.  Here is what you may have always wanted to know about Internet phone service but have been afraid to ask:

Question #1: What Is Internet Phone Service?

Answer #1: This is perhaps the single most fundamental question that anyone could possibly ask about Internet phone service, but it is a good one.  The underlying technology is generally referred to as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short.  While the technology might be different than Plain Old Telephone Service (or POTS for short) that most of us grew up with, it actually plugs right in and works just like a normal phone line would in many cases.  Of course, the advantage to VoIP is that you can also use software and make calls from your computer if your provider allows for it.

Question #2: Why Are Internet Phone Calls So Cheap?

Answer #2: The outdated telecom network that we once relied on so heavily is just that: outdated.  Simply put, the Internet is the most efficient of our large scale global networks, and it makes far better use of transmission resources, lines, routers, switches, and so on, and as a result it is simply more logical to send data through that global network.  The fact that the network can serve so many other purposes simply helps it operate at a great price compared to the antiquated telecom network that is old enough to be considered a senior citizen in human terms!  In tech terms, things old enough to be a teenager in human terms are considered to be dinosaurs, so what does that make the telecom network!?

Question #3: How Much Does Internet Phone Service Cost?

Answer #3: The cost of Internet phone service will vary depending on market and plan, but the good news is that it has already severely undercut the traditional POTS network pricing to the point where few carriers even really offer POTS-based telephones in urban areas.  As previously mentioned, different plans may also come in at different price points.  The ability to use International calling is arguably the strongest point of any Internet phone service.  While International add-on plans tend to cost a few dollars more per month, it is almost impossible to compete with these services.

Question #4: Is Internet Phone Service Available in My Area?

Answer #4: Chances are very good that Internet phone service is available to you, and you may even already have a form of it installed if you have a land line in your house!  Internet phone service has been so affordable and competitive that many providers already offer bundles of broadband, TV, and Internet phone service disguised as a more traditional land line in your own home, apartment, or place of work!  These lines tend to be far more affordable than their POTS ancestors, but there are also services that enable you to use tablets, PCs, and special Internet phone devices to place calls directly over a secure VoIP network.

Question #5: Why Do Cable Companies & Fiber Optic Outfits Offer Internet Phone Service?

Answer #5: This is a complex question with a complex answer, but the simple answer can be summed up in one word: competition.  Simply put, carriers are willing to offer all the services that you need because other carriers are doing the same thing.

Question #6: Can I Keep My Existing Number if I Switch to Internet Phone Service?

Answer #6: In almost all cases the answer is yes.  The government passed a law which enables consumers to migrate from one phone service to the other without losing their existing number.  There are many reasons why this was done, but in general it would be fair to say that the net result is that carriers can no longer hide behind their ability to retain customers via a lockdown on their existing numbers.