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The Truth About Demand For VoIP

VoIP technology is a) taking off like a rocket, with the number of cable VoIP subscribers skyrocketing 900 percent from 2003 to 2004; b) more hype than reality, with only 13% of consumers interested or very interested in using the technology; or c) both of the above?

The answer is c), according to stories on Networking Pipeline in the last week.

But how is that possible? How can the numbers of cable VoIP subscribers skyrocket, and yet consumers not care about the technology?

To understand, you have to look a little more closely at the numbers. First, let's look at the skyrocketing use of cable VoIP. True, the numbers were up 900%, but that's because they were so small to begin with. There were only 50,000 users of cable-based VoIP in 2003, and so a rise to 500,000 by the end of 2005 is big in percentage terms. But an additional 450,000 people in a year is not exactly a groundswell, considering that there were 22.4 million broadband cable users in 2004. Put the numbers together, and it means that a little over two percent of broadband cable subscribers use cable-based VoIP.

Similarly, the low overall interest of consumers in VoIP can be misleading as well. Only 13% of people are now interested. Sounds low, doesn't it? But do the multiplication, and if 13% of all consumer were actually using VoIP, that would mean many multiple millions of VoIP users.

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