Thursday, January 19, 2006

5 Million VoIP Lines By Year's End

According to Forrester Research, it is predicted that over 5 million Americans will be using VoIP lines by the end of 2006. Click here to read the full article from USA Today. As the use of IP phones lines and cell phones continues to cut into the market for traditional copper phone lines, multifamily developers will face some interesting decisions in the near future.

VoIP lines offer a quality service that surpasses the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) lines in many ways, but most VoIP providers have a long way to go before E911 services are sufficiently refined for mass deployment (such as in a bulk contract) in a multifamily development. (Click here to read about the case where the State of Texas is suing Vonage related to 911 services.)

So can a developer that plans to offer VoIP and other advanced telecommunications services get by without installing copper for POTS? Well, in the words of one communications attorney, "There may come a time when traditional POTS is a thing of the past, but for now the decision to go that route requires you to weigh the cost savings against the possible resident dissatisfaction and liability concerns."

Stay tuned, because this is a story that will continue to develop as VoIP keeps pushing further into the mainstream. Next time, we'll look at the third piece of this puzzle - cell phones have become extremely commonplace as the primary phone line, especially among younger demographics. If that's the case, do developers need to start thinking about boosting cell phone signals inside their buildings?

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