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Free Phone Calls on the Net

Techstination feature for Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Free phone calls on the Net. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Subscribers to Earthlink's high speed DSL Internet service are being given a way to make free phone calls…to others using computer based voice over IP connections. The calls use what is called the SIP standard. How does that differ from using the voice capabilities in AOL or Microsoft instant messaging? Earthlink CEO Garry Betty….

"It's integrated into our core service. So each Earthlink subscriber will automatically get their own SIP address. The important thing of what we're doing, we're helping establish the foundation that will allow for this technology to start to emerge. I think we're starting the building blocks for helping make this technology, or allow it to take off."

While computer to computer calls are free…the service…can be upgraded to allow for calls to any telephone. Earthlink also hopes it will sell customers on the kind of voice over IP phone service that more and more Internet, phone and cable companies are offering. Betty says the traditional wireline phone business is being challenged like never before…

"It's a mess. The reality is, providing voice services over IP is so much more cost effective than traditional circuit switching, it really is a disruptive technology."

Earthlink CEO Garry Betty. We'll have more on voice over IP in the days to come.