BY SCOTT ANDERSON News Business Reporter
With a recent federal decision barring state officials from regulating Internet phone calling, an onslaught of both household-name companies and unknowns are jumping into the Michigan market to provide it.
Firms as big as Qwest Communications Inc. and lesser-known but rapidly growing Internet firms like Vonage are all rushing to provide voice over Internet protocol -- known as VOIP -- to residential and business customers in the Ann Arbor area and across the state.
To place calls via the Internet, customers first need to have a high-speed speed connection, often in the form of digital cable or digital subscriber lines, known as DSL. With it, the often lower-priced VOIP services provide unlimited local and long-distance service across the country using the Internet. The technology also allows customers to check voicemails using e-mail, among other services.
There were nine companies in Michigan providing VOIP as of the end of2004, according to a list compiled by state regulators. But that number is growing, following a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission to keep VOIP providers immune from state regulation. Vonage and other small firms successfully argued regulation would drive up costs to consumers.
"It kind of was a green light for us to go into these areas where we had no presence," said Brooke Schulz, spokeswoman for New Jersey-based Vonage.
Full story at:How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home: If you live in Michigan, subscribe to the MI-Telecom group: