Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, may also be called Voice over IP telephony. It refers to voice, text, fax, and multimedia communication that is delivered over the internet, instead of public “copper” phone lines. These older phone lines are sometimes referred to as “Plain Old Telephone Service,” or POTS.
The first Voice over IP application, Speak Freely, was released to the public in 1991. Within five years, public telephone companies were petitioning the US government to ban the technology. They recognized the competition it represented. However, it was a losing battle. By the mid 2000’s, the VoIP revolution in the US was well underway. Today, about one-third of businesses use VoIP services.
Occasionally, VoIP is called by other names. SIP, or “Session Initiation Protocol,” is a protocol used by VoIP providers. It’s still VoIP! Broadband refers to the internet connection used to deliver your call. And the term “cloud” just indicates that your VoIP servers are located somewhere other than your building. So almost every VoIP account is, in fact, in the “cloud.”