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Hearing the Call

Not quite ready to cut the cord? Never fear—your local Bell will offer VoIP, too.

This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's one of those left-handed compliments not exactly coveted by the many start-ups who've pioneered IP telephony: They're doing so well, the Baby Bells plan to offer VoIP, too.

On the other hand, the decision by all four Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to push phone calls over the Internet should reassure entrepreneurs wondering if they can trust business calls to a technology that had a somewhat bumpy start. Clearly, VoIP is here to stay-with "clearly" being the operative word. Faster Internet connections and better audio and routing software seem to have eased early quality-of-service concerns. Now VoIP is even being ratified by the telecom giants whose profits it undercuts.

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