Miami telecom firm offering Internet phone service
By Tom Harlan
A local telecommunications company is adding IP technology to its phone service to lower costs and provide additional features for US and Latin American customers.
ISN Telcom - a phone, data, wireless and Internet-services provider at 4770 Biscayne Blvd. - is teaming up with software platform providers to add broadband-based technology to its phone service for individuals and businesses.
Customers using the technology will be able to make local and national calls for a flat rate and international calls at a lower rate by connecting an adapter to a broadband modem, company officials said.
ISN Telcom uses VoIP technology, which allows the company to bypass local carriers to deliver calls to the public telephone network.
VoIP, voice-over-Internet protocol, lets voice communications take place over the Internet by transmitting phone conversations as packets of information.
"There is no question that (VoIP) represents the future of telecommunications," said Jonathan Lieberman, ISN Telcom's president and CEO.
ISN Telcom is working with BroadSoft, a Maryland provider of voice applications and servers for phone-service providers, to offer customers the BroadWorks platform, which provides a range of applications that support services necessary to use VoIP.
BroadSoft develops the software and integrates it for customers while ISN Telcom focuses on providing customers with the services they need, Mr. Lieberman said. The company's BroadWorks will power ISN Telcom's service, called ipFONE.
The ipFONE service will provide call waiting, call forwarding, voice mail and other features.
It also will give customers the ability to use the service through various connections. With VoIP, said Mr. Lieberman, customers have one universal phone number. When a customer receives a call, the service will forward it to a cell phone and an office line, for example, at the same time or in succession.
"Wherever you are, the call will find you," he said.
Customers can use a virtual office option, which allows them to call a local number and reach co-workers around the world. For example, a customer could have a 305 area-code number forwarded to his desk in Argentina and save money on international calls, Mr. Lieberman said.
"It's surprisingly affordable because it's over the Internet instead of a traditional phone line," he said.
VoIP programs allow customers to have their voice mail converted into audio files that can be attached to an e-mail, Mr. Lieberman said.
"Our new technology is like TiVo," Mr. Lieberman said. "TiVo is one of those things you would never imagine you would need. Then you use it and you can't believe you existed without it."
ISN Telcom, which provides service to more than 30,000 customers in Florida, plans to market ipFONE in Florida and cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The service will spread to Latin America due to South Florida businesses' strong working relationships with the area, Mr. Lieberman said.
VoIP has been around for years, Mr. Lieberman said, but the technology only recently has been adopted by a large group of desktop users. When those users spread positive reviews about VoIP applications, he said, masses of people will be encouraged to try the technology.
"With ipFONE, we are offering residential and business users throughout the US and Latin America a way to access this cutting-edge application," Mr. Lieberman said, "and providing them with an opportunity to save substantial amounts of money."