Telstra has kicked off trials of a VoIP service in Melbourne using Softswitch technology, a platform that has been designed to provide complex packet-based telephone services over a regular broadband Internet connection.
Telstra said that up to 200 people will take part in the trials, which should provide feedback on the usability and popularity of various telephony services and the quality of voice calls.
Telstra Technology's group managing director Ted Pretty said the move to Softswitch Technology increases flexibility and improves the efficiency of Telstra's network.
"In the packet world, voice shares the network with e-mails, video transmission and file transfers, which allows for a more efficient use of network resources. The evolution to an IP ecosystem will result in a more cost effective and flexible operating environment for Telstra, which will help deliver next generation services and applications," said Pretty.
However, Pretty does not expect VoIP to replace circuit switched telephones immediately, instead he expects a slow transition as new services are added.
"Initially, voice over broadband using IP is expected to be attractive as a second or additional fixed line service. Telstra's investment... will assist us to introduce new VoIP enabled services like click-to-call, e-mail notification of voice mail, a self-service Web interface for management of calls and functions, and eventually, multimedia services such as video conferencing," said Pretty.