Local phone giant BellSouth on Tuesday is expected to start selling an Internet Protocol-based business phone service in Miami and Columbia, S.C. The service, which will be offered as part of a market trial, has all the trappings of a traditional Centrex offering, including hundreds of possible phone lines, each with call forwarding, hold and intercom. The service is, so corporations don't have to build their own IP-Centrex.
The BellSouth service will eventually compete with similar offerings from major U.S. telephone companies that are migrating toward IP at the core of their networks, rather than the more expensive circuit switches. Voice over IP has been criticized for its "cell phone-like" sound quality and its dependence on broadband and a constant source of electricity.