THE rapidly falling cost of broadband is spurring a welcome resurgence in the popularity of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and businesses that are switching are reaping huge benefits.
Deidre Jonker, marketing manager for BitCo, one of South Africa’s foremost VoIP providers, attributes the growing success of VoIP to call rates that have become “so low they are virtually free” together with disillusionment with the monopoly still being exerted by fixed-line operator, Telkom.
“The reason it’s so cost-effective is that you are transmitting data in pretty much the same way you’re interacting with the Internet. Essentially, if you can do the one, you can do the other.
“With thousands and thousands of South Africans using VoIP platforms like the hugely successful Skype to communicate, especially overseas, the technology has leapfrogged earlier uptake snags and people not only realise how simple and effective it is, but see multiple advantages in real-time conferencing and the enormous potential of video over purely audio communications,” says Jonker.
BitCo is a tier 1 operator which means the company owns its own network entirely, obviating any extraneous difficulties with infrastructure (the physical equipment), interconnect agreements and the so-called “last mile” service end meaning the physical connection into a client’s premises.
“As costs of broadband – especially in the business sector of Internet connectivity – have reduced together with faster transmission speeds through better international cabling, and service reliably have improved by huge leaps and bounds, so much of the initial scepticism that bedevilled VoIP in SA has diminished.
“The lingering negative recessionary factors in the economy have also spurred companies to ask, ‘Surely there must be cheaper and more efficient ways of keeping in touch with dispersed operations?’ It has become common to see a Skype address on company letterheads – a sure sign of just how popular VoIP is,” adds Jonker.
And with savings well in excess of half normal telephone line costs, her point seems “a no-brainer to most tech-savvy modern companies”.
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