Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) is a way of sending and receiving telephone calls over your internet connection. At its best, it means not having to deal with local fixed-line telephone providers at all. It is also cheaper and more versatile than a conventional phone and offers possibilities not normally available, such as having local numbers all over the world that you can access from any internet connection, as well as things like having your voicemail messages emailed to you.
Those waiting for SkypeIn to be available in Canada do have at least one option of comparable price:
- Get a router with SIP based VOIP functionality. (For example, the Thomson ST780 sold by Teksavvy.)
- Get Canadian Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers from someone like Voip.ms. These cost $2 per month each, and are available for a great many different areas. You can also get numbers in the US, UK, or elsewhere. Many numbers can be used seamlessly with the same phone and voicemail system.
- Get a free account with MySIPswitch.com.
- Have that free service configured by someone who actually understands how it works (not me).
- Configure the DIDs to point to MySIPswitch
- Configure your router
- Plug a phone into your router. It will now receive calls from any of your DID numbers, and can also place calls anywhere in the world at low rates.
Sure, a pre-packaged system of the Skype or Vonage variety would requires less tinkering. That said, the approach above works right now, and costs very little to boot.