For the uninitiated, the term broadband phone is loosely used to describe the technology currently available where one can make telephone calls from a telephone system that sends the voice signal over your internet connection. The call may terminate at a regular phone line or another broadband phone.
Until recently, the technology was not being used widely because of its perceived limitations, including lack of features available. The primary issue however has been that of poor call quality.
Now, continuing improvements in the industry and increased competition pushing the development of the technology have resulted in significant progress, to the extent that some analysts now predict that broadband phones (really Voice over Internet Protocol technologies) will dominate the long distance calling market by 2010 - maybe sooner.
Here are some specific reasons why you may find broadband phones a good fit at this stage.
Reason #5: Portability and Ease of Use
The equipment provided by the broadband phone companies can be used wherever you have access to a high speed connection. Most broadband service companies do not restrict you from traveling with your phone. As long as the network that you are plugging into will "automagically" assign your broadband device an internet address (IP address) - and most will - you are up and running.
This means that you can be in a hotel in Japan and still be accessible at the same phone number - your kids or staff don't need to know the hotel's number.
Reason #4: Long Distance Savings
Broadband services typically come with lower long distance rates than you can get from most traditional carriers. This calculates into immediate cost savings. Some services allow you to add one or more virtual numbers to your main phone number. This means that your phone may be able to receive calls from 2 or more different area codes. This virtually eliminates long-distance phoning charges for anyone calling within those numbers' area codes.
Reason #3: Freedom from Tariffs
For the time being, calls made over the internet are not subject to a lot of the tariffs that afflict your regular phone bill. How long will this persist? There are different opinions on this in the industry, but right now it's a nice advantage that makes for an even lower phone bill.
Reason #2: Availability of High Speed Internet
All the cost saving and convenience reasons already mentioned would not do much to propel the growth of the broadband phone market if consumers did not have access to high speed connections at their homes. Broadband phones perform the best when using cable or DSL highspeed internet connections.
Reason #1: Clarity of Sound
The top reason why broadband phone services are currently making swift inroads is that the call quality has significantly improved. All of the major players now offer services that work satisfactorily for residential use and some can consistently meet the most stringent business requirements for clarity.
Finally, considering the initial small investment that may be required to get a broadband phone account up and running, the volume of savings you are likely to experience within a short period is very significant. The flexibility, ease of use (technical know-how not needed) combined with improvement in quality definitely makes this bandwagon a good ride.