Take a SIP?

6 · OCT ·2015

As copper lines are being replaced by other ways to connect to the internet – such as super-fast broadband, 4G mobile and satellite broadband services – VoIP is becoming more popular. When using VoIP, calls are transmitted via the internet, rather than the traditional copper based landlines and telephone exchanges.

Using VoIP, people can download apps to their smartphones and computers, enabling them to make and receive calls anywhere. While businesses can use call management systems to transfer calls to an employee’s mobile, VoIP services, like Skype for business, can offer a more direct way for people to get in touch with those they need.

Future of voice


It’s been reported that around 1.4m people in the UK use hosted voice services. While BT forecasts that VoIP connections will overtake traditional copper based landlines in 2018, it plans to stop using landline connections completely by 2025. BT, which is required by Ofcom to provide and maintain traditional ISDN telephone services, has asked the regulator to relax its rules on providing this service.

It maintains that, as VoIP becomes more popular and people stop using their landlines, it needs to invest in infrastructure to support VoIP, rather than landlines. It can’t do this under existing regulations, but it needs to if it’s to future-proof the service.

Given that BT’s revenue for the year ending March 2015 was £17.8billion it is hard not to question why there needs to be a relaxation of regulations for the company.

Concerns


The main concerns focus on access and security, especially for businesses. For example, should there be an issue with internet access, businesses will see their VoIP service go down too (of course, they would still have mobile access, and possible VoIP access via smartphone apps). Yet, business can’t reply on mobiles either. One RootMetrics study found that 46 per cent of businesses reported losing multiple calls per day due to an unreliable mobile service.

Hacking is another major concern. Nettitude found that UK businesses are coming under attack by cyber criminals using their VoIP service to commit fraud and other crimes against the business. In the first quarter of 2015, 88 per cent of VoIP attacks occurred outside of normal work hours, when no one was in the office to monitor the system. These hackers used methods such as repeatedly calling premium rate and international numbers to run up the company’s bill. One instance saw someone within the corporate network hack into an ongoing conference call so that they could listen in.

As the rollout of super-fast broadband continues, and more people make the switch away from landlines to mobiles and apps like Skype, more businesses will be considering a move away from landlines (especially small businesses and start-ups), but operators need to ensure their services are secure and reliable if they are to prove a suitable alternative to landline for business.

Gavin Henry, Managing Director of SureVoIP comments "It will be critical for businesses and residential customers to select their VoIP providers carefully. Whether using on-premise solutions or Hosted VoIP solutions, this selection process can be made much simpler by reaching for members of the Internet Telephony Service Provider Association and following their Best Practice guides. By approaching any ITSPA member, or ITSPA directly for advice, should result in the ability to have a trial of their VoIP service and piece of mind of dealing with a reputable provider backed by the relevant association."

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Sanita Karra

Posted by Sanita Karra