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VoIP Grew 21 Percent Between 2009 and 2010, FCC Says

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March 22, 2011

VoIP Grew 21 Percent Between 2009 and 2010, FCC Says

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Use of VoIP by consumers and businesses grew by 21 percent between June 2009 and June 2010, the Federal Communications Commission reports. At the same time, use of legacy voice lines decreased eight percent over the same period. Total voice lines in service decreased from about 162.7 million in 2008 to 151.2 million between 2008 and 2010. Overall, fixed voice lines declined about seven percent over that period.

About 28 percent of all residential wireline connections used VoIP as of June 2010, and at least 77 percent of VoIP subscribers received service from a cable provider. That is an interesting statistic, to the extent that it might once have been supposed that the primary providers of competitive voice service would have been new competitive firms competing with the incumbent telcos. As it has turned out, most of the competition actually has come from cable companies. 

One might argue that illustrates the need for scale in the local fixed-line voice business, the power of multi-product bundles or the relative power of leveraging an existing set of customer relationships, networks and overhead to provide one new incremental service. Doubtless all play some role. 

In June 2010, there were 122 million end-user switched access lines in service and 29 million VoIP subscriptions in the United States, or 151 million wireline retail local telephone service connections in total. 

Of the 151 million wireline retail local telephone service connections in June 2010, 90 million (or 59 percent) were residential connections and 61 million (or 41 percent) were business connections.

Of all the lines in service, about 43 percent are residential switched access lines, 38 percent are business switched access lines, 17 percent are residential VoIP subscriptions, and just two percent are business VoIP lines.  That last statistic might come as a surprise. It is a likely reflection of the fact that most enterprises do not buy many switched voice lines, relying on special access, SIP trunk and other data connections instead for voice trunking services. 

On the other hand, the large number of legacy TDM lines likely is a reflection that the small business user must often invest in new hardware and software when migrating to IP telephony, and that the anticipated financial return at a small business might not be so clear. 

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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