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Voice Over IP (VOIP)
"a way of sending voice calls over the Internet using either a software or a hardware telephone"
To be honest Voice over IP isn't that new, it has been used for some time now, however home users can now make calls round the world to both VoIP users and non-VoIP users.
What do I need?
A PC and internet connection are the first things, although some telephone companies are now bringing out phones so this is not a requirement. You will also need to sign up with one of the many providers out there (list below).
Once you signup with one of the VoIP providers they will give you the software and hardware that is required. Generally the only hardware you will require is a headset and microphone, which can be purchased fairly cheap if they are not provided.
Is VoIP cheaper
Million dollar question, this will depend on who you are calling. Some provide free or cheap calls to other members of their network. However, most users would notice a difference if they are calling long distance (abroad).
I want to know more
Visit http://www.voip.org.uk for more information plus for a list of UK providers visit their VoIP Provider Review Page. This site is the VoIP resource for the UK and from the looks of it is not biased to any one provider.
List of VoIP Providers
This is a brief list of VoIP providers, we do not and cannot recommend any as their services differ and you will need to see what will be best for your needs. A more detailed list is on VoIP.org.uk