We have reported about free conference calling service providers many times in the past. Most of those news covered both totally VoIP based conference calling services such as Google Voice based conference calling and ooVoo, as well as traditional conference calling services where you can call in using your phone to join in the conversation. In a recent article by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Steven Cherry interviewed the co-founder of Speek conference calling service, who shed some light on why Free conference calling services will not be able to survive in the wake of new FCC regulations and how VoIP based conference calling solutions come to rescue.
Why free conference calling services will shutdown
Free conference calling services make their money based on the telecommunication act of 1996, which allows the telephone companies in rural areas to collect a small portion from the Universal Service Fund for each call that they terminate outside of their area. The Universal Service Fund is supported by a tax collected on almost every phone bill in USA.
What happened due to this support for rural telephone companies is that a lot of people set-up rural telephone companies and started something called “traffic pumping” or “access stimulation”. Traffic pumping means a company inflates the amount of incoming phone call traffic to benefit from the inter-carrier compensation fees from the calls terminating at their end. In other words, if a person who uses AT&T made a call to a rural number, AT&T will have to pay a bigger terminating fee than if the person called another AT&T number.
Sex, Conference Calls, and outdated FCC rules – Google
The act received a lot of criticism when people set up services such as phone dating and other similar phone based services that require a user to make a phone call that terminate at the rural telephone company. Even Google posted an article on their policy blog with a sensational title “Sex, conference calls, and outdated FCC rules”. Now, a recent FCC decision is set to shut down these services.
The alternative to traditional conference calling
If the traditional conference calling services are gone there will still be options open for us. For instance, the services such as Speek will come handy. In addition to providing the services offered by traditional conference calling services, these new VoIP based calling services will also have features such as calling from phone apps, PCs and even from gaming devices, allowing audio as well as video conference calling, automatically informing everyone of a newly joined person, and ability to sharing documents among others. With such great conference calling services that have the ability to shrink the world into a village, these are poised to take off at fast pace.
Why not Skype instead of traditional conference calling
The reason why Skype has not replaced the conference calling market is because it makes it necessary for the other person to have the Skype software installed and a user id. While everyone has a phone number for variety of reasons, Skype username is not a utility that one can be assumed to have. Therefore, it will still take a long time for Skype to replace conference calling, especially when they are charging for group video calls their capabilities to replace it are almost negligible.