Telstra rolls out global VoIP service

* Telstra aims IP VPN service at multinationals

Telstra, an Australian ISP with extensive operations in the Asia Pacific region, is now offering a global IP VPN voice service designed to reduce corporate rates on international telephone calls.

Telstra's new T-VOIP service is available immediately in 20 U.S. cities and 51 other countries around the globe. The service allows unlimited on-net calling in those cities at one flat, monthly rate. Off-net calls are charged at a flat rate per termination country, regardless of where the call originated.

T-VOIP is geared toward U.S.-based multinationals with at least 10 sites overseas. Telstra officials say these target customers can save up to 40% on international calls with the T-VOIP service.

"Our customers tend to have 10 or more sites in other countries and these tend to be sites with more than 20 people each because you need some sort of volume to have the efficiency for this service," says Dan Kerth, president and COO of Telstra Inc., the U.S. arm of Telstra Corp.

Telstra says T-VOIP will reduce rates for both inter-office calls, where both parties are on-net, as well as off-net calls, where Telstra is able to route the calls via IP to the closest available POP. Off-net calls are charged based on the destination rather than origination at what Telstra calls "postage stamp rates."

"This is an international dialing plan for companies," says Ilissa Miller, product marketing manager for T-VOIP. "It allows them to reduce long-distance costs substantially. With off-net calls, we do what's called hot potato routing to get the call as close as we can to the existing PSTN node. For on-net calls, we have five-digit dialing that's an extension to the PBX. All offices are in a sense on the same five-digit dialing plan."

The T-VOIP service works with a company's existing PBXs, switches and handsets. It requires a free port on the back of the PBX and interfaces with WAN routers.

T-VOIP rides over Telstra's Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) backbone.

"It provides a special class of service on MPLS that sets aside the bandwidth for the VoIP calls," Kerth says. "It can be used for multimedia calls including voice and video."

Telstra says there is no difference in call quality between regular international telephone calls and the new T-VOIP service. Indeed, company officials say they are meeting the "high" quality level measures for IP VPNs defined by European telecommunications standards body ETSI.

Telstra is offering free network analysis and cost saving projections for companies interested in T-VOIP.

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