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BellSouth Launches Corporate VoIP Services

BellSouth on Thursday launched Internet-based voice services for corporations, joining competitors in trying to grab a share of a growing market.

The Atlanta-based company also announced a three-year agreement with Lucent Technologies, which will provide the equipment and software for the new services. BellSouth is offering its voice over Internet protocol services first in its nine-state territory in the Southeast, eventually expanding across the nation.

VoIP technology carries a huge advantage to businesses because of its potential for converging the personal computer with the telephone.

Today, data networks tapped by computers are separate from traditional telephone service. In the future, however, both are expected to be on one Internet-based system that will make it possible, for example, for someone to access voice mail through their laptop and respond by email, or send a fax.

The benefits of merging data and voice communications are expected to increase as high-speed Internet connections become available in more public places, such as cafes, airports and hotels. "Companies will be able to cash in on the advantages of IP networks," Vamsi Sistla, analyst for ABI Research said.

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