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Communications America Online The Internet

AOL Canada To Offer VoIP 130

Lev13than writes "The Globe and Mail reports that AOL Canada will today announce plans to launch a VoIP service, starting with Toronto and expanding to the rest of the country by the end of March. It will be the first AOL unit to sell VoIP anywhere in the world. "TotalTalk" will sell for $30 a month after a three-month discount, including unlimited local calling, 60 minutes of North American long distance, call display, call waiting, three-way calling and call forwarding. A premium service that includes 1,000 minutes a month of North American long-distance time will sell for $45 a month after a three-month rebate.
In comparison, Bell service in Toronto costs about $50/month for similar features and a few hours of Canada-only long distance. I wonder if this will be available over AOL Dial-up?"
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AOL Canada To Offer VoIP

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  • by kngthdn ( 820601 ) * on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:00AM (#11091400) Homepage
    Are those in American or Canadian dollars? 30CAD is only 24.39USD.

    $24USD sounds more in line with what US based VoIP companies like Lingo [lingo.com] charge.
  • AOL Dial-up? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fr05t ( 69968 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:03AM (#11091418)
    Not likely. One reason they probably picked Canada was because we have a pretty high % of homes with DSL/Cable. Sure it's no Korea, but I don't know too many people here that still use dialup.
    • What you actually mean is that dialup penetration is very low.

      It's not like, everyone uses broadband because it's available everywhere.
      • Actually it pretty much is like the original poster said. With the low cost of High speed internet access in canada and the avalibility of it in most resonable sized markets already (with the goverment pushing programs to get communities of just about any size access.) Broadband penetration in Canada currently sits at about 67% (Nielsen/NetRatings) and considering that about 81%(Nielsen/NetRatings) of canadian homes have at least one computer that is one hell of a pile of people.
  • On dialup? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:10AM (#11091451)
    I wonder if this will be available over AOL Dial-up?

    Yes, but only if you talk very s..l..o..w..l..y..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:10AM (#11091454)
    I guess some people might get excited about this because they want this service for their regular phones, but I prefer to use Skype or SIP clients on my PC with a headset.

    I'm also considering buying an IP phone. Both options have a $0 monthly subscription cost and $0 for infinity minutes if I make calls to other IP phones or PC clients (as is the case for most of my overseas relatives).

    The tech "savvier" will always beat the curve.
    • That's great and all, but what if you don't know anyone with Skype or an IP phone? You'll still need to interface with POTS to order a pizza and call your parents (assuming you don't live in their basement). That's worth $20/month to me.
      • Skype charges about $0.02/USD per minute long distance to north america and much of Europe. You pre-pay 10 or 25/EUR for the time and it expires in 6 months. I've used it to cut my cell phone costs and drop my land line entirely.

        True, when it doesn't work it doesn't work at all, though I've only had 1 call in my first week of usage that was not usable...about the same as my cell phone.

    • cool, you keep your computer on 24/7 so that you can make and recieve phone calls. Wonder what the cost of electricity is?
    • I'm only paying 16 a month for VOIP and I can call everyone including the chinese delivery boy. IP phones are so 20th century...

  • Cheaper from Comwave (Score:3, Informative)

    by djwerder ( 217182 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:13AM (#11091465)
    Using a link from http://www.redflagdeals.com/deals/main.php/ongoing / [redflagdeals.com], you can get a Comwave VoIP package for $9.95 Canadian with a Long distance package for $2.95 Canadian. Those prices seem a little more reasonable than the AOL package.
  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:15AM (#11091472) Homepage Journal
    Sorry to pick nits, but shouldn't it be COL?
  • Um, they have that, it's called a phone. Seriously, on a 33.6Kbps link, what kind of quality are you going to get? Speak not to me of codecs - you're too close to the bone bandwidth-wise. Latency and low bandwidth would kill it. VoIP on broadband, like I have here, however, works gre...BUFFERING...
    • That's the other problem with this service, most cable companies in Canada limit the upload speed of their client, I have a 4.5Mbps download bandwith and a 384Kbps upload bandwith, which is wrong. You'd expect I play nice games on the web but the upload is what makes it crappy, in fact for all two-way communication I might as well consider my total bandwith to be 384Kbps, I need more or less double that for uncompressed mono audio at 16bits/44.1KHz. Compression is inevitable plus there is the problem of lat
      • Audio transmitted over the PSTN is usually digitised to a 8KHz ulaw (64kbps) stream. Nowhere near this 16bps/44.1KHz you speak of.
      • hey moron, ever thought that the reason upload is capped like that is due to the fact that it taxes the system a hell of a lot more than download?

        ALL carriers have a lower upload than DL (by a long shot) except if you are running a T1 or OC. that is the reason of fibre, full bandwidth both ways.
      • I just got vonage at my kiln/studio. Note that this is a dirt floor barn-like place in the countryside. My kiln-neighbor somehow got a DSL connection (I can't get one and I live in town - go figure) and he said I could tap in. So with a wireless bridge (stock antenna even) spanning the 300ft to his place and a vonage box, I finally have a telephone out there. His caps are smaller than yours (I think they are 1.5/256). Phone is perfect.

        BTW, my cell phone won't work out there unless pointed in a partic
      • Get a cablemodem... I have 6 meg down, 1 meg up. More than livable. Same price as DSL, more or less.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lets see, I'm going to make a phone call by dialing my ISP over PSTN and then "tunnel" VoIP on top of that? So what the hell is the point of VoIP then!? I might as well get dial-up over my high-speed internet connection. The point of VoIP is to get rid of PSTN, not layer on top of it. If you want to make phone calls over the internet, you can use a 1995 application called Internet Telephone. You obviously don't know what VoIP is or what it's about.
  • I thought the point of VoIP was to eliminate the "local" nature of the calls, since they're not routed through as many traditional public exchanges.

    Maybe they just have better deals with the Toronto telcos.
    • The 'telco' that is carrying the VoIP traffic is a national carrier. It is Allstream [allstream.com] - Canada's 3rd largest telco, owned by MTS [www.mts.ca]

      The traffic will be carried over their national fibre network - has nothing to do with a 'local' telco...
  • Even if you convert to US$, it is a bit high. Not as bad as Comcast is planning to charge for their VOIP, though.

    For example, I use Lingo (http://www.lingo.com) and pay $20 for unlimited calls inside the US and to a few places in Western Europe. Mainly I just call the U.K., and had 6200 minutes logged there last month. And the company that owns lingo (Primus) isn't too tiny either...not that I'm saying AOL is.
  • Golly gee, I can see that already.

    *ring ring*

    (luser A picks up)

    • A: "Hi"
    • B: "Re"
    • A: "What?"
    • B: "H R u?"
    • A: "Please speak clearly"
    • B: "lol"
    • A: "Can I help you with something?"
    • B: "asl"
    • A: "Eh?"
  • Rip Off, total (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeedleSurfer ( 768029 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:35AM (#11091560)
    Voice over IP should cost LESS not a bit less, it's not like they have to built a network or something, they get some servers gear configure it the way they want and the trick is done. 30$ a month is what I pay here in Quebec and I consider it expensive. VOIP for 30$ a month, it should cost that a year with NO long distance fee AT ALL, since no, absolutely no extra charge is placed upon the company when you make a long distance, you don't use more of their network you just connect an IP to another IP, you do not use the phone system of another country, you do not have to pay them to communicate on their land, that's the internet, it's would be like my ISP charging me more to connect to a japanese website!

    This is timeless though, a technology is proposed, supposedly it will revolutionize the field for which it has been concieve because it is so unexpensive, so cheap. A company launch the service with the new technology and instead of the consummer paying less it's the company that makes more profit, VOIP, banking machines...

    capitalism really sucks
    • Add VoIP to the list of AOL-ruined enterprises: Netscape ICQ Winamp
    • While I agree with you on the price @ $30/month, the termination fees for calling a real phone do cost money. It's a monopoly in most cases, true, and it's silly as the wires involved can be the same, though they have charged for 100+ years. Expecting them to charge nothing all the sudden isn't reasonable.

      If you want to 'call' someone using the Internet only, use one of the free programs out there or Skype and just call them.

    • I swear, the people on Slashdot who attack market systems are almost as bad as the people who defend them! Let's cover some basic ground, shall we?

      1) Voice over IP should cost LESS not a bit less, it's not like they have to built a network or something

      How much do you know about running a VOIP business? Have you been running models that demonstrate the enormous cost difference? I bet if you did, you'd notice that ISP-level providers generally pay backbone carriers on a flat-rate PLUS a per-byte basis,
      • You over-simplify the way VOIP-POTS gateways work quite a bit. It's not like you'd set up gateways in every local calling area. You'd likely just set up gateways in really high traffic areas, or covering big regions and negotiate interchange agreements with the local carriers. Now, while that reduce the hardware costs, it's still expensive since you'll be paying part of your per minute charges to the carriers you pass traffic on to.

        Most companies offering cheap long distance to consumers - whether via VOI

      • And for the record, banking machines HAVE reduced consumer banking costs, but in a way that you have to actually THINK about to notice.

        You know, I was with you right up to that point. Anyone, and I mean _ANYONE_ who defends the actions of a bank in the 21st century, needs to have their head examined.

        Instead of paying a Zillion (tm) dollars a year in staffing wickets, the computer automated 90% of customer interaction. What did the banks do with the newfound savings? Well, they pocketed it of course. And
        • "And then they had the sheer fscking arrogance of charging me a fee to access my own money."

          Well, don't you give them your money to manage it in first place? You still can store it in your mattress and it won't cost you a penny to access it.

          I'd rather than say you are yourself arrogant telling them they should not charge you for the service they provide. Perhaps you were never confronted to the situation to need to access your money while being 1000 miles away of your mattress.

          And I don't see how they s

          • Well, don't you give them your money to manage it in first place? You still can store it in your mattress and it won't cost you a penny to access it.

            I know that here in Australia at least, if you have a real job (not some shady cash-in-hand arrangement), or even if you're on welfare payments, you need a bank account for the money to be paid into, otherwise you don't get the money.
    • Actually there are charges for crossing different network boundaries. Believe it or not, all of the world's internet is not provided for free.

      All the major providers measure bandwidth in and out of their networks, the differences are settled something like once a month.

  • packet 8 (Score:2, Informative)

    by f()bz ( 839819 )
    just a thought: packet 8 already offers a much cheaper solution for canadians (and americans). unlimited calls to canada and the us for 19.95 USD a month. includes caller id, 3 way calling, etc. cheaper and probably better solution than A-Oh-hell....
    • No they don't! Did you even bother to check before spouting off?

      They don't offer local termination in Canada. Sure I could get an american phone number and call people in Canada, but what good is that?

      So far right now the Canadian competition is:

      Primus TalkBroadband [primustel.ca] (19.95 for free local calls and 300 minutes to Can and US, 911 available everywhere).

      Yak Communications [yak.com] (1000 mins to can, us, china, hong kong, free local calls, for 19.95 USD + 31 set up fee + 1 year contract! BOOOO!)

      Vonag [vonage.ca]

      • yes you're right i didn't do my homework. please negate my first statement if you want a canadian area code. i just called packet 8 and a customer service agent said "we will probably *never* offer canadian area codes". bleh. i've spoken to friends who have vonage on the other end of my non-voip POTS and the audio quality imho is not that lovely. maybe give it a try with people that use it? also re: 911 service. 911 vonage service to the states comes with many clauses. Vonage notes at the end of the
      • Also not covering all of Canada is:
        WebCall [webcall.ca]
        A little more expensive than most, and very limited area for local numbers (Alberta and BC) though you can sign up from anywhere.

        Disclaimer: I do work for SaskTel which owns Navigata (who provides WebCall). I've done some work on the service. One thing I like about the webcall setup is the fact that you plug a regular phone into it. Not sure how many other VoIP providers do this - I'm sure some do

        • What good would a VoIP service be if you couldn't use a regular phone?

          Every single one of the providers listed in the parents post allow this.

          I was going to ask you about some information regarding webcall, ie how does their service compare to that of others, but apparently you've no experience in this area.

          Also, this webcall service sucks really huge. 29.95 for 400 minutes with no 911, and no phone number porting! Not only is that MORE EXPENSIVE than a regular POTS line with a winback pricing pl
          • No, I don't have a lot of experience with other providers, but I'll try and give you some information. One of the main reason's its tough to do 911 on VoIP is that there is a requirement (or one might be coming down, I'm not sure) that forces the 911 operators to be able to locate the physical source of the call... not easy to do when all you have is an IP.
            Yes, it is expensive. Webcall wasn't launched to be a major competitor in the market. It was launched to get SaskTel IN the market. There's a lot of
  • You've got mail, ay?
  • Wouldn't voip be kind of pointless over dail up? I mean think about it, you're calling a phone number to get internet, to then call another number. voip at home makes the most sense with cable and no traditional home phone line, even voip with dsl is weird. If you're already paying for telephone service, why pay again?
  • Vonage in Canada (Score:3, Informative)

    by rkischuk ( 463111 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:50AM (#11091651)
    Also, for comparison, Vonage Canada is offering 500 minutes to North America for $19.99 [vonage.ca] and $34.99 unlimited in-province plus 500 long distance minutes [vonage.ca]. For $5 more, I think a lot of people will be claiming the extra 440 minutes of long distance. Oh, and at $45, Vonage CA is FULL unlimited, not capped at 100 minutes long distance.
    • Another popular provider on the market is primus [primus.ca]. There local package is 19.95/month , (15.95/month if you have the hardware) going up to 45.95/month (or 41.95/month if you have the hardware) for there unlimited package , with many stops in between .
    • Ah wait...

      Local minutes aren't free. 500 minutes means 500 minutes.

      Check out:

      $21.99 - Unlimited Local, 911 service, Voice Mail, Voice Email, etc... etc... etc...


      • "Local minutes aren't free. 500 minutes means 500 minutes."
        That's their very base plan ($19.95). They also offer free in province and 500 min. north america for $34.99. - 500 minutes means 500 minutes!
  • by CokoBWare ( 584686 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @09:57AM (#11091692)
    Rogers has a "Better Bundle Deal" that gives you 15% off all their services if you have two or more services with them. If you are a "Better Bundle Deal" subscriber, then you qualify to get 1000 anytime minutes in North America per month for $0.05/minute up to a maximum of $5/month. The first 100 minutes are billed at the $0.05 rate, and the next 900 are free. After the 1000 minutes are used up, you get a rate of $0.05/minute. Probably the best deal I found so far. It lowered my Bell bill by $70/month!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, AOL has been offerring VOIP through its Time Warner division for a while now. Read this press release, dated January of this year:

    http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,208 12 ,670217,00.html

    They've been running commercials for it in Houston for months.
  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2004 @10:07AM (#11091756)
    I can see it now: Hundreds of CDs floating around offering "1,000 Minutes of Long Distance Free!"

  • by hey ( 83763 )
    Who outside the US would use a service with such a USA-centric name? I mean AOL Canada, AOL Europe, etc. I would think the name alone would turn off most non-Americans. Not because of anti-Bush or anything just because it *sounds* like you'll get tech support 9-5 EST, in English only, etc.
    • How often these days do you hear AOL referred to as America OnLine?

      They've consciously stuck to AOL in most contexts for a long time, and in the UK at least that is what most users recognise them as. I don't think many users in Europe at least think of AOL as any more USA centric than other US owned services sold here.

    • Funny thing is they'll probably outsource the tech to support India.
  • Primus VOIP can be a much better deal, depends if you care about features... if you load your phone up with every bell and whistle under the sun they it'll be around the same price but with a much better LD plan, but for basic VOIP plus a reasonable LD plan it'll cost about $26 a month AFTER TAX. Primus VOIP also lets you tack on 2 extra numbers to your line from ANY area code they service, and will roll over to an "alternative number" I.E. your cell phone if cable or DSL goes out in your area. http://ww
  • BabyTEL [babytel.ca] has a plan that lets you make unlimited calls to any city in Canada (just about) for $25 per month. And that's in Canadian dollars.

    Strange that they're not mentioned in the article - they're the third-largest provider in Canada, after Vonage and Primus. I use them myself and can't get enough of them, after some nasty experiences with Vonage.

  • I already get my VOIP from Primus in Toronto. I pay $40 a month for unlimited north american calling and ridiculously low overseas prices. With the regular phone companies charging over 50 dollars now for really simple service, this is a godsent.
  • Has anyone seen any good reviews comparing the current crop of VOIP providers? I recently set up a Vonage VOIP line and so far I am not particularly happy with the quality:

    - Background noise that starts before you even dial (coming from the linksys VOIP router I guess)
    - Significantly more lag than a normal phone line - perhaps 500ms vs. 100ms or less for a normal phone line
    - One person talking often cuts out the other person talking - I want to say that it is sort of 'single duplex' but there are definite
    • Yeah, that was my experience with Vonage too - and the tech support isn't anything to write home about. I use BabyTel [babytel.ca] now and they look to be the cheapest around. All their packages have all the features and the sound quality is just like a regular landline. Not that cell-phone quality noise you get with Vonage.
  • I wonder if this will be available over AOL Dial-up?

    I hope that was a joke!
  • I was speaking with a friend of mine who works for Bell...Apparently they are currently working on a project called "Project Galileo." They plan to replace all analog POTS lines with VOIP boxes connected to VDSL modems hard wired to your NID on the side of your house over the course of the next few years. The idea is that provisioning a line would be very easy...no work needs to be done in the central office, just activating your account in their system, and adding an additional line would be just as easy

  • What's to prevent the traditional phone companies from rolling out their own VoIP services? They have all they infrastructure for regular phones and DSL, so why not? They could see whether VoIP start-ups are successful, and roll back the curtain on a whole new secretly-installed VoIP infrastructure.
  • ..that you'll still need to pay for your phone line from Bell, Telus etc to recieve your DSL connection.

    So, unless you have a cable modem, this isn't even a viable option.

    What we need up here are worthy competitors in the DSL market.
  • What about bandwidth? VoIP starts at around 30kB for a modestly decent signal. 50kB for solid, better than any phone, 90kB you're talking mid-nineties motorola single-cel along the ocean (no interference from the mainland, low mid-tones, breathy audio)... Dialup? Never.

    What did you say, it sounded like crackle, burp, hiss? Oh, my email client was polling the mail server, oops. That's exactly what happens with a dsl connection and VoIP set to 30kB. At 90kB on a twice-as-fat pipe, it's stunning, not a landli

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