THUMBS UP: Call On the Internet for Exceptional Service

Physician's Money Digest, March 2006, Volume 13, Issue 3

US News & World

Report

While trading in your traditionalhome phone line for a relatively newand unknown technology like Internetphoning may seem like a daunting concept,Web-based calling has recentlybecome inexpensive, easy to set up, andreliable.According to , Internet phone services provideunlimited long distance and local callsfor around $20 to $25 a month, includingsuch services as voice mail andthree-way calling, which could run $40or more per month with a regular telecomline. Companies that offer Internetcalling include Vonage (www.vonage.com), VoicePulse (www.voicepulse.com),Packet 8 (www.packet8.net), and Broad-Voice (www.broadvoice.com). Upon purchasingservice from a company, youwill be sent a start-up kit that includesa small box that plugs into your broadbandmodem. Then you simply plugyour phone into the box, and you're allset to talk. Web phone companies canalso offer such services as having yourvoice mail available on the Internet andelectronic screening of certain callers.You can also take the box on the roadwith you to have your phone numberavailable wherever you go. One drawbackis that unlike traditional land lines,Internet phones will not work when thepower goes out.