Why All the Hype About Skype? - But Wait, There’s More
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It's interesting to see the government's reaction to this technology. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has historically avoided regulating the or the services provided over it. Early last year, the FCC ruled that an entirely Internet-based VoIP service was an unregulated information service. It also decided to examine how it could best meet its role to safeguard the public interest with so many new choices available. The FCC recommends that users check with the VoIP service provider you choose to confirm any advantages and limitations to their service.
At least one major telecommunications company has reacted to the growing interest in VoIP as well. AT&T recently entered into a three-year, multimillion-dlooar agreement with NOVO 1, Inc. to provide voice and data services at NOVO 1 business locations across the United States. Under the terms of the deal, AT&T will convert NOVO 1 call centers across the United States from traditional phone lines to VoIP. Getting into VoIP may prove to be the best move AT&T ever made since the break-up of Ma Bell.
As for Skype, it has an affiliate program that allows online communities, website owners and publishers, bloggers, and others to earn money for promoting the company. Affiliates can earn up to a ten percent commission for purchases from the Skype Store that are the result of visitor click-throughs. Skype will even pay the commission for customers who have visited your site within the previous 30 days and then came directly to skype.com to make the purchase. Since a Skype user can use their computer at the same time, becoming a Skype affiliate might be particularly appealing to online communities. It offers another way to network socially, for no cost.
Skype has also been looking for WiFi partners. Skype’s software works on laptops, and there is a version available for systems running Microsoft’s Pocket PC. Some personal digital assistants and mobile phones feature Pocket PC; they also must be running a 400Mhz processor in order to handle Skype. There may not be very many cell phones that can make that claim (yet), but if past experience is any indication, they will be coming in the not-too-distant future. So being able to use Skype at WiFi hotspots, such as those available at many bookstores and coffeehouses, will encourage its spread.
While I’ve spoken mostly about Skype in this article, it’s worth keeping in mind that Skype is only one company, making the most of the disruptive technology of VoIP. Skype isn’t even the best-known company in the VoIP space; that distinction belongs to Vonage, who boasts more than 600,000 lines in service. We have seen other services offered over broadband connections to the Internet; there is little doubt that we will see many more. How disruptive they will prove to be is anyone’s guess. It is almost certain, however, that a home or office in 2025 will look even more different from today’s home or office than, say, one circa 1985.
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