As mentioned on this site earlier this year, Atlanta-based Internet service provider EarthLink today unveiled the new, improved version of its residential VoIP service, now running on EarthLink’s own backbone, and incorporating some significant new features. The newly fledged service is newly branded trueVoice.
While trueVoice’s predecessor, EarthLink Unlimited Voice, was offered using technology from New Jersey-based Vonage, the new version will run entirely on an EarthLink-built and –managed network.
Furthermore, although since its initial launch in 2003 VoIP has been offered only to EarthLink’s broadband Internet access customers, the company will market trueVoice to the wider public. “While EarthLink’s 1.5 million household broadband footprint is a great base for the VoIP service,” EarthLink’s director of corporate communications, Jerry Grasso, told VoIPplanet.com, “we’re thinking bigger than that.” Indeed, EarthLink sees VoIP as a force that will significantly transform the telecommunications landscape in the U.S., and intends to be a major player.
TrueVoice, which includes enhanced 9-1-1 service, is available with unlimited local and long-distance service at $24.95 per month, as well as trueVoice Basic, a 500 minute package with the same features at $14.95 per month. The first month is free with either version of the service.
Standard features include voicemail, three-way calling, and call forwarding. For those with more advanced forwarding needs can purchase enhanced call forwarding ($4.95 per month), where users can enter up to five forwarding numbers, to be executed in the sequence of his or her choice. This and other management functions are carried out at the user’s online MyVoice portal.
The analog terminal adaptor needed to make non-IP phones compatible with the VoIP service are now included free in the trueVoice startup kit—at no cost to the customer.
New to trueVoice is a call-blocking function. Users may enter as many as ten phone numbers to block, thus eliminating calls and voicemails from annoying or otherwise bothersome callers. According to Jim Bagnato, EarthLink’s director of voice services, “these capabilities will be expanded over time to cover additional numbers.”
Each trueVoice user gets an address book on EarthLink’s Webmail servers, and contact information stored there is instantly integrated into the voice service. Non-ISP trueVoice customers will an EarthLink email address and thus have an on-line address book just like access customers.