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Voice Over Internet Protocol

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is a way that you can use the Internet to make telephone calls. VOIP providers typically let you make unlimited local and long distance calls for a flat fee. You usually need a high-speed Internet connection to use VOIP. Depending on the type of service, you can make a VOIP call from a computer, a special VOIP phone, or a traditional phone with or without an adapter. You may need special equipment from the company and help connecting the equipment and getting it to work.

VOIP and 911 Calls

  • Many Voice Over Internet Protocol providers have limits to their 911 service. Make sure you understand these limits before you sign-up for the service.
  • Make sure you give the provider your actual physical address if you sign up for VOIP. Also, make sure your telephone number and physical address are registered with your local 911 service.
  • Learn how to update your address with your VOIP provider, and promptly update your address if you move.
  • Tell children, babysitters, and visitors about any 911 limitations your service has.

Tips To Keep In Mind Before You Sign Up For VOIP

  • Many VOIP services don’t work during power outages or if there’s a problem with your computer or Internet connection.
  • Many VOIP providers require you to sign up for 12 months or more. If you cancel earlier, you may have to pay an early termination fee. Also, some VOIP agreements will automatically renew your service unless you take steps to stop it. Be sure you understand how long your service will last and what you need to do to cancel it.
  • If the VOIP provider offers a free 30 day trial, make sure you know when the trial period begins. Some VOIP providers start your service the day you sign-up, before your number is ready or before you even have the equipment to make calls. You might still be able use the service, though, through the use of a temporary or “virtual” number.
  • Read all the terms and conditions in the contract or on the provider’s Web site. For instance, “unlimited” minutes may not be completely without limit. Some VOIP companies limit the maximum number of minutes you can call per month. If you exceed that limit you may be defined as business use and billed at a higher rate.
  • Unlike traditional telephone companies, VOIP providers are generally not regulated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

We Can Help

If you have a complaint about a VOIP provider, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.