Whenever a new technology hits the scene, you can always count on someone to say it's only worthwhile for geeks and freaks. But local-area wireless voice access, as well as Voice over IP, is coming to a neighborhood near you, probably sooner than later. If they haven't already, savvy enterprise managers should start evaluating wireless and VoIP options, to counter an expected rise in prices for traditional wired voice services.
As my colleague David Haskin points out in today's mobile & wireless feature, traditional telcos are looking down the tunnel at the new access methods, and it's probably an oncoming train, not a light, that they see. At next week's Supercomm show, there are likely to be more than a few announcements about ways to circumvent the local copper loops, either via wireless or VoIP. In light of last week's news that cedes control of local lines to the RBOCs, startups have even more of an incentive to find new ways to reach out and touch new customers.
If the RBOCs were smart, they might innovate right along with the startups, and provide expanded services at a competitive price. Or, they might try to milk their existing infrastructure for as long as possible, while casting doubt upon the new technologies. Which way will they go? Let history be your guide, and plan accordingly. And let us know how those wireless and VoIP trials are going.