Recent research conducted by Point Tropic has revealed that global VoIP subscriptions shot up 15% during the last financial quarter. In the UK, VoIP subscription figures now stand just shy of the 3 million mark (statistics exclude Skype), placing us 10th on the list of highest subscribers.
The US sit top of this list with 22 million VoIP subscriptions, but it’s actually the French who have proportionality the highest take up, with a staggering 38% of all telephone lines running over IP. The success in France has been attributed to "an enthusiastic set of suppliers, cost effective bundles, appropriate regulations and a developing infrastructure”.
However it’s probably also of little coincidence that France is considered to have one of the best IP infrastructures and frequently features near the top of the intentional broadband rankings. After all the quality of a VoIP system is often only as good as the underlying internet connection.
I suspect we will see continued growth of these services in the UK over the next few years. The systems available are starting to offer greater functionality and intelligence and, as in France, we’ve witnessed a recent proliferation of telecom bundles and converged solutions which, in tandem which a general increase in competition, is driving prices down. VoIP call costs are also free between fellow VoIP users, so hypothetically the more people using it the cheaper it will become and the more attractive it will be.
The continuing improvements of our IP infrastructure and the promise of considerable public investment in the next few years should also start to make internet connections suitable for VoIP more cost effective. In particular, if and when BT finally completes the deployment of its 21CN voice network architecture, then we should have an infrastructure which standardises VoIP as the principle method of telephone communication.