What is VOIP ?

VOIP (pronounced VOYP) stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Traditionally, when you make a phone call, the telephone conversation goes down a pair of wires (your phone line) to the local exchange where it gets routed to the person on the other end of the call.

VOIP allows the phone conversation to take a different route, namely to go through the internet to get to the person at the other end. The person at the other end could be on VOIP themselves, or they could just be on a BT phone line, it doesn’t matter, the call will still be routed correctly. It just uses the internet as it’s route, instead of the phone line.

If you've used SkyPE before then you've used one form of VOIP. However, there is another form of VOIP that means you can use your existing phone just like you use it now. Instead of being plugged into the BT socket in your house, the phone is plugged into a special socket in your internet router.

You dial a call just as you normally would and it gets routed via the internet to the person you were calling. The person on the other end does not need to be on VOIP themselves, they could be on a BT line. It will still work.

What is the benefit of this ?  You can choose to tell BT that you no longer want your phone line and save money on the line rental. VOIP providers don’t charge line rental (there is no line being rented from them), they just charge for the calls you make and prices are on a par with BT.