Internet phone services

Most people who live in Whistler are not actually from Whistler, and many of those who were lucky enough to grow up here have since moved away in search of jobs, education and saner surroundings.

Chances are your phone bill includes at least one long distance call, and probably a whole lot more than that. There are things you can do to ease the bite of long distance charges. Long distance plans, money saving services like Yak and phone cards can save you a small fortune, but you may be overlooking the biggest money saver of all – your computer.

Thanks to the explosion of broadband Internet services around the world and the advent of the Internet phone you can now call almost anywhere in the world for nothing – or for a nominal subscription fee.

A few years ago you could only use your computer’s web connection to call other computers. Then you could use your computer to call out to regular phones, but not to receive outside calls without a subscription. These days some services have even eliminated the need for computers altogether by routing your cell and landline calls through the Web to offer huge savings.

You probably won’t want to replace your landline or cell phone with any kind of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) device or service any time soon – most services don’t guarantee 911, and there are dead zones where it doesn’t seem to work properly. Some users have complained that the service is unreliable, that calls sometimes get cut off, that there can be lags sending and receiving, and that the sound quality is inconsistent.

If you’re using your computer and a service like Skype ( ), the quality of the experience is determined by the quality of your high-speed connection.

Subscription services offered by Vonage ( ) and Verizon ( ) are more consistent but have a monthly flat fee attached.

Skype, on the other hand, is free to use although there is a small cost in the beginning for the plug-in connector, and the premium service will cost you a little extra.

Other leading services to watch for are VarPhonex ( ), CDMA ( and Wimax ( ), although new VoIP services are cropping up almost daily and may offer better services or prices. Check and for the latest list of VoIP-related downloads.


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