EarthLink Free Online Calling is anything but revolutionary. EarthLink's broadband subscribers can already choose from dozens of offerings from other providers of free VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) technology, with the same results. But the software does round out EarthLink's Net phone portfolio.already sells a that lets subscribers make unlimited local and long-distance calls to traditional phones.
"EarthLink Free Online Calling is part of our overall strategy to develop and deploy a full suite of data and voice-based communication applications," EarthLink Vice President Tom Andrus said in a statement.
To some VoIP insiders, EarthLink's move validates the market for making phone calls cheaply by using the Internet rather than the heavily regulated and taxed traditional phone network. The market for such calls has been heating up of late, withof their VOIP plans just last week.
"Just about every ISP is getting into the business," said Jeff Pulver, founder of Free World Dialup. FWD has reached an agreement with EarthLink so EarthLink Free Online dialers can also reach those using FWD software. EarthLink has reached a similar so-called "peering" agreement with, another free VoIP provider.
CNET News.com's Ben Charny contributed to this report.