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Got Skype? Call any land line within US and Canada for free

Skype, famous for launching the first popular Internet VoIP communications software, previously had a subscription or pay mode called SkypeOut. The feature enabled Skype users within the US and Canada to make calls to landlines for small fees. After paying or adding pre-paid credit, users would then be able to use Skype on their computers to make calls to anywhere within the US -- to other Skype users (for free) and to regular land lines.

Today, Skype announces a major milestone in VoIP communication: free calls to any land line in the US and Canada, free of charge. No strings attached, at all. Simply use your existing Skype software and SkypeOut login, and begin making those calls. Call lengths are unlimited and can be made at any time during the day or night. From the press release:

Yes. It is really very, very free. There’s no prepayment, no minimum use, no subscription, no monthly fee, no nothing. You just download and install Skype and then you start calling. Both the caller and the number called must be in either the US or Canada. There are no strings attached.

The only condition is that we have said free SkypeOut within the US and Canada is guaranteed to last until the end of this year — that is, until December 31, 2006. We’re not quite sure yet what we will do after that. Maybe we extend the free period, maybe not. You’ll hear more about this towards the end of the year.

This marks a major milestone not only for Skype, but for making calls within the US and Canada in all of history. Never has a company offered free calling to land lines in the US and Canada, and while the hurrah of VoIP promised to remove customers from the grasps of large telcos, Skype has truly made VoIP what it was intended to be. Although Skype is still unsure of what it will do with this free SkypeOut feature once 2007 hits, everyone is hoping that Skype will continue its breakthrough for the long haul. 

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Great progress, but still snags
By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 12:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
I have no doubts that this technology has potential, yet a few simple problems have some worried (at least those ive spoken to about) about longevity. The main issue is cutting your main landline in favor of VoIP. Picture it, if you will, were accustomed to picking up a handset and getting a dialtone every time even when the power is out or some other major problem. I still had phone service in a hurricane the past couple of years.

The concept of using this as your primary phone service though depends on how the internet is feeling and also possible backlash from your service provider (blocking VoIP?). Others are worried about 911 service if they get rid of thier existing line. While we may eventually see worldwide VoIP service thats ubituous (sp?) as calling someone next door... some of these problems need to be figured out first.

RE: Great progress, but still snags
By creathir on 5/15/2006 3:11:37 PM , Rating: 1
Where have you been? All of these issues were SOLVED 10 years ago (literally)
The big guys have been using VoIP to carry your signal for a LONG time now (father used to work for good 'ol WorldCom... they were doing this back in the late 90's)

Your issue with picking up a handset has been resolved as well. Go look up the word SIP or VoIP Gateway. These devices and technologies enable normal phones, soft phones, and any other phone (try a WiFi SIP Phone... those are really cool)

911 is another thing that has been resolved. e911 is a service that most VoIP providers have. You register the location of the phone, and when you dial 911, it routes to the correct dispatch. The only downside is that if you physically move the phone, it will show you as being registered in location X, while you are in location Y. They slap warnings in manuals and even on the phones sometimes about this. Eventually this problem will be solved by in phone GPS or something like that.
- Creathir

By segagenesis on 5/15/2006 3:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I do not disagree... I was attempting referring to as picking up a phone and getting a dialtone reliably. When the power goes out you still get phone service regardless. Maybe you misinterpreted my question? We have VoIP where I work and analog converters for fax lines and old phones, but the reliability is spotty. It's the company with the golden gate bridge for its logo. No, I don't manage it.

Regardless of the provider, the issues I describe must be local because those I've talked to who are trying various VoIP services have gotten very mixed reviews.

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