As a consumer I have used VoIP for almost 5 years. I have been with Vonage in three different houses in two different states separated by 1300 plus miles. While I didnít take advantage of it when moving from Michigan to Texas (seemed like people might get confused by a Ď248′ area code in Houston), the fact is that I could have kept my phone number. The Internet is the Internet. As long as I have a broadband connection Vonage can route my call to me whether I am in Michigan, Texas, or New Zealand.

Cost is another factor. I was paying my local phone company for basic service, then paying additional money for long distance service (plus the per-minute calling charges), and adding nickel-and-dime costs for features like voicemail or caller ID. With VoIP I got everything for one flat fee. Again, with the Internet being the Internet, it really doesnít matter if I call my next door neighbor or a long-lost relative in Zurich. There isnít any local and long distance. Some consumer VoIP providers havenít gotten that memo though. My cable company offers Ďdigital voiceí and charges per minute for long distance. No, thank you.