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It's good to PlusTalk...
Thursday 29 September 2005 03:21:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

PlusNet (www.plus.net) has announced a launch of a gateway enabling customers of its VoIP service PlusTalk to make and receive called over the public telephone network rather than being restricted to a small community of PlusTalk users. VoIP-to-VoIP calls such as between PlusTalk subscribers will remain free of charge whilst calls to mobiles and land lines will be charged from £2.99 per month or on a pay-as-you-go tariff.

Users will be billed for these calls on a monthly basis on their broadband bill along with their Internet connectivity service. The VoIP service like many others, can be used with a headset attached to a computer running VoIP software, or a router/device which allows a normal telephone to be connected into the system. PlusNet are employing network management tools to ensure voice traffic is given priority to maintain quality of the line. Business packages are also available with three lines and 3,000 minutes starting from £19.99 per month.

Product

Features

PlusTalk Evening & Weekend
FIRST 4,000 USERS - free first month
  • £ 2.99 per month
  • Fixed cost
  • 15MB voicemail allowance
  • No charge to call UK Landlines beginning 01 and 02 (evenings & weekends)
PlusTalk Anytime
  • £ 4.99 per month
  • Fixed cost
  • 25MB voicemail allowance
  • No charge to call UK Landlines beginning 01 and 02
PlusTalk PAYG
  • 1.5ppm day time, 1ppm evening and weekend
  • Minimum 'top-up': £5
  • Easy pre-pay top-up facility
  • 5MB voicemail allowance

PlusNet is also critical of VoIP services based on peer-to-peer (p2p) networks such as Skype which do not have the quality of service control across the network and can suffer "spam over IP telephony" (SPIT) attacks in peer-to-peer environments. This may increase the risk of interruptions to calls or distortions whilst the phone reconstructs the stream based on the information before and after a missing segment. PlusNet believes that such services should work on open standards:

"Only by assigning dedicated bandwidth to VoIP calls can quality be assured. This is something that companies using P2P VoIP cannot control. We firmly believe that VoIP services are best offered by internet service providers, who can offer the necessary control of quality and security to counter today's spam and security threats. Otherwise poor quality of service will be synonymous with VoIP, and users will begin turning their backs on a great technology. Some providers such as Skype offer a proprietary system, a closed circle where you can only talk freely to other VoIP users who have subscribed to the same service. Only by using open standards can users talk freely to whoever they want to, regardless of who the provider happens to be. VoIP providers who don't adopt open standards will keep their customers effectively locked in closed communities."

Lee Strafford (CEO), PlusNet.

Users of the service can also call customers on thirteen other VoIP providers free of charge (as well as receive calls from these providers): CallUK, Gradwell, Gossiptel, Internet Phone company, AQL, Free World Dialup, Zero27, Voipfone, Telappliant, Voipuser, Blueface, IPPN and Sipphone. More information on the service can be found here.

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