Voice over Internet Protocol, or digital voice, is the convergence of voice and data into a single bitstream which enables innovative offerings that integrate the two in ways not possible using traditional telephone service.
Digital voice specifically refers to communications services - voice, facsimile, and/or voice messaging applications - that are transported over broadband cable networks, which are facilities-based, managed networks. The basic steps involved in originating a digital voice call are conversion of the analog voice signal to digital format and compression/translation of the signal into Internet protocol (IP) packets for transmission over the network; the process is reversed at the receiving end.
As a technology, digital voice has been in existence for more than a decade. For businesses and residential customers alike, that means the ability to save costs and to communicate more efficiently and effectively.
Digital voice technology encompasses many services, ranging from voice-enabled instant messaging and chat, to voice-enabled gaming. Other services available from digital voice include "unified" messaging (in which users have a single message platform for email, voicemail and faxes); personal portals; caller ID on televisions; talking email; and customized dial tones and greetings. Increased deployment of cable digital voice spurs the demand for broadband services, thus creating incentives for all carriers to invest in their networks and extend broadband capabilities.
In Pennsylvania, a "hands-off" approach to digital voice technology is consistent with the FCC's support for non-regulation of advanced services, including this technology. In 2008 the Pennsylvania General Assembly overwhelmingly approved VoIP de-regulation legislation providing certainty that investment in this popular technology could continue unobstructed. And, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission agreed that it is premature to impose any regulatory burdens on digital voice service unless, and until, the FCC offers guidance on the matter.
Broadband cable digital voice provides to Pennsylvanians a low-cost, high-quality alternative to traditional local and long distance voice service utilizing the superior quality offered by broadband cable companies. This popular service joins a list of technological advances introduced by the state's cable industry...and embraced by Pennsylvania residents.