Voice over Internet takes on telcom firms

Ring Fu's company plays a small part in a global trend that he says will dominate telecommunications in the not-too-distant future.

"A few years ago they said it was a toy. Now, the biggest companies in the U.S. are adopting the technology," he said. That "toy" is a technology called voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, which transmits phone calls the same way e-mails are sent over Internet broadband connections and at much lower costs than conventional calls. "It will be the main conduit through which humans communicate over long distances, absolutely," Fu said.

VOIP has been around for several years, but has taken off recently as technology improves and the spread of broadband Internet connections make it easy to use the service. Verizon Communications Inc., the largest telephone company in the United States, launched VOIP services last week. The cost savings it offers make VOIP a threat to big telecommunications carriers. AT&T Corp., the largest U.S. long-distance phone firm, said this month it would no longer seek new residential customers and would instead concentrate on corporate clients due to rising competition in long-distance services such as VOIP..

News source: CNN

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