Major survey on IP telephony use to be carried out in Northern Ireland

A detailed analysis of the current use of internet-enabled communications, including internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), is to be undertaken in Northern Ireland.

The survey, to be carried out by the University of Ulster, will not only look closely at the degree to which such technologies are used, but will also seek to find out how these technologies are rated in terms of function and application by those who use them on a regular basis.

This assessment of IP telephony and business VoIP usage is highly appropriate for Northern Ireland since one of its major business areas, Londonderry, has been identified by national telecommunications company, BT, as having the fastest business broadband capacity in the UK.

The region has also been the grateful recipient over the years of funding from local government, telecommunications organisations, and the European Commission. This funding has been specifically earmarked for infrastructure development such as cabling for high speed broadband; and it is the latter which is crucial in enabling firms to adopt value added internet-based services such as business VoIP and IP telephony; whether such services are run on in-house equipment or accessed via a host business VoIP provider or a host VoIP reseller.

Commenting on the proposed survey, Gerard Parr, professor of telecommunications engineering at the University of Ulster, said: “We want to get direct observations and feedback on the quality of the broadband…service consumers are receiving and the impact this is having on their work”.

Findings of other surveys into IP telephony usage have been extremely positive, often centring on the advantages of business VoIP in terms of the greater flexibility this technology can offer firms in managing business phone systems, and of the increased potential for lower monthly phone costs.