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On Tuesday, New Jersey-based VoIP provider Vonage said it has a similar-sounding project in the works with satellite broadband service provider SkyFrames. The companies plan to make their combined services available to troops in Iraq during the upcoming holidays and, according to Vonage Executive Vice President Louis Holder, "could conceivably push this service out" to a wider audience, depending on its success.
Some believe that satellite companies and VoIP providers are a pairing made in heaven. The coupling enables the satellite providers to keep pace with, which are using VoIP to sell a "triple play" of broadband, television and telephone service. VoIP providers, for their part, get a chance to find new customers, and--in the case of Net2Phone--be the first telephone services in areas where traditional phone lines haven't yet reached, said Global Service President Bryan Wiener.
The coming availability of second-generation
VoIP gear--based on SIP, SOAP and
SIMPLE--raises questions about the benefits
and risks of migration.
But the marriage of these two technologies is not without problems. Because VoIP calls use the Internet instead of traditional phone lines, the packets of digital information can get lost among trillions of other Net communications. The initial service with SkyFrames is "a little better than cellular, but a little worse than what we're used to," Holder said.
Net2Phone's Wiener said, however, that his company and Hughes have developed a way to prioritize voice calls, as they travel over networks. That helps ensure the high level of voice quality traditional phone dialers now expect, he said.
A SkyFrames representative didn't respond to a call seeking comment.