Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP
) is not a new term. Advertised as a low cost alternative to traditional telephony, VoIP has a major role in a new wave of converged network solutions that are infusing the telecommunications market.
Although many consumers and large enterprises have adopted the technology in some way, Australian small to medium businesses (SMBs) have traditionally been discouraged by VoIP’s reputation for poor call quality at the cheaper end of the spectrum, and the large set-up costs of premium, business-grade services.
According to Australia’s CRN Magazine, telecommunications solutions for businesses have been moving towards Internet telephony for a while. Although the copper wire still controls the majority of outbound phone calls, traditional IP PBX
systems that rout intra-office calls via a Wide Area Network have been used by large enterprises since the turn of the 21st century.
A new online services directory, FreeConnect, was launched last week claiming to be Australia's first online VoIP directory service.
As a free portal for businesses, FreeConnect allows users to connect with potential customers via telephone, e-mail, SMS and VoIP. The service also allows businesses to post contact and services information, photographs, payment options and company history.
FreeConnect's national online database can be searched by business type, keyword, location or service nature. Once an appropriate business is found, FreeConnect can contact the consumer and start a connection between them and the business.
Searching the service is free, with charges applied once the service connects a customer to a company.
With a $99 advance payment, businesses get up to $175 credit, with amounts deducted each time a customer is connected to the business.
Fees range from 40 cents for an SMS, to $3.00 for a voice call. Businesses can detail how and when they wish to be contacted.
John Kennedy, the founder of FreeConnect, said that with FreeConnect businesses don not pay to list or promote their products and services.
“They only pay for the leads that bring new business in the door, which is a results-driven approach that hasn't been available before now,” Kennedy explained.
"Our database already lists most of the businesses operating in Australia, but we want the businesses themselves to visit the site, check their details are accurate, and then add additional information to their listing that will make it easier for people to choose them,” he added.
Michelle Robart is a Contributing Editor at TMCnet. To read more of her articles please visit her columnist page.