Last week, while I was busy moving, fellow blogger Tom Keating put up an exceedingly thoughtful post comparing pure VoIP- as offered by the likes of Vonage, Packet8, SunRocket and others- vs. telephone and cable VoIP.
Tom framed his argument by mapping back to a VoIP.com assertion that since telcos and cable tend to charge more for VoIP, these companies aren't passing along the savings to consumers mainly because they feel the need to " 'shore up a century's worth of copper wire losses with new technology revenue.' "
Tom then disagrees, pointing out that telcos, especially, have done mightly handsomely with copper. Instead, Tom cites reasons having to do with the larger companies eyeing the portion of their existing customer base that has not yet gone over to indy VoIP as a group that will pay the $40 monthly VoIP fee as part of a service bundle because that amount is considerably less than what they are paying for standard long-distance now.
This is a valid point, one which I would like to expand upon. The early adopters, the experimenters, the self-regarded risk-takers are already on the VoIP train. For the mainstream, leaving a trusted telecommunications provider for a company they have had no previous relationship with just to hop on board with a technology they have little or no clue about, is risky. And some people are risk-averse.
Many of the technologically risk-averse have been spending $100 or so a month on long-distance calls plus local service. But now, here's a company you know, one which you already get your Internet access service, local service and either cell or cable tv- with a friendly package that includes all-you-can-eat calling for $40 a month.
So the bottom line is $40 a month to someone you know sounds like a better deal than $100 a month, and a more reassuring safety zone than $20 a month to a company you know nothing about.