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PC to Phone Technology

... Australian providers?

12:41 am on Jul 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sorry if this is a bit outside the realms of SE's but I suspect the best answers may come from the forum members.

Our single biggest business expense is the phone bill and I am very keen on the PC to phone technology which allows phone calls to be made via my PC to the other party's phone. It has the potential to provide us with very significant savings.

I can find companies in the UK, Europe and the USA who can offer the service.... does anyone know of Australian based providers?

... and anyone have any first hand experience of using one of these in Oz?

2:12 am on Aug 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You would think from all the hype overseas that PC to Phone or voice over IP would be the way to go, but for most small businesses it is not. Why? Cost!

We have found the rates you can obtain from using prepaid calling cards is lower than you can obtain from other providers. It is a very competitive market and they are using VoIP systems. The quality and price varies a bit, but shop around and you will win.

I have tried one (the only one I could find) PC to phone provider www.a2zconnect.com. Our ping times when I last used it were too long to be used for a business phone call.

1:17 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Melbourne based company. A few of my contacts use the soft phone and think it is OK. Don't buy any USB phone because they need a PC to be turned on and run the dialler. An Ethernet model is better if you have a router with its own dialler.

I personally use a US-sourced Vonage terminal which costs US$14.95/mth but you need a US shipping and billing address. My local phone plugs into it and answers to a US phone number. I also point a US 800# at it and it has been fun getting Bay Area telemarketing calls, surveys, wrong numbers, sometimes at 3 in the morning.

BTW, the voice quality at the middle position (50 kHz?) is adequate over my 512/128k ADSL provided I do no file downloading, else it gets choppy. Uploading a file renders the call unusable.

The Vonage can be placed ahead of the router, so that its QoS circuit can reserve some bandwidth and prioritise voice before other protocols, but it seemed a lot easier to plug it into the router.

To try and put it in a WW context, getting a US number can help Aussie sites that want to appear to be in the US.

2:56 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You might also want to ask in this Australian broadband forum [whirlpool.net.au]. You're likely to find some people with knowledge of emerging technology in there too.
3:12 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Take a look at [skype.com...] It's supposed to be very good. The software is free, and calls are free to fellow users.
3:28 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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After looking at [skype.com...] I still think these rates are expensive compared to using a prepaid card, plus you cannot use your standard phone system.

Ok, if you need an extra line and have broadband.

6:47 am on Aug 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I saw a story about Comcast on a Current Affair who apparently are aggresively rolling out a voip network at the moment.