Ironton businessman brings Internet phone service to county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Though it may have been good enough for Alexander Graham Bell, one Ironton man is trying to get locals to look at their telephones in a whole new way.

Bernard Kinder is an independent marketing representative with Champion Communications, a national Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company, which offers standard telephone service though a high-speed Internet connection.

The service is available to anyone with a broadband connection such as those provided by DSL or cable lines. The service comes with a box - which costs $79 - that is hooked into a regular phone line. All phones in the home on that phone line can then use the service.

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&#8220It's growing by leaps and bounds in the United States,” Kinder said. &#8220It has been in Japan for years, but it never got over to the United States. But here in the last few years they have really perfected this phone service over the Internet. It is estimated that 40 percent of all people by 2007 will transfer their phone service to the Internet.”

The main selling point for VoIP is its price. For example, the residential package offers local calls and long distance to the U.S. and Canada for a flat rate of $26.45 a month, before taxes. Kinder said that there are several other advantages.

&#8220What is so nice about it is that in Ironton or South Point, for instance, you can even keep the phone number you have at home,” Kinder said.

The VoIP box can also be hooked up to other Internet-enabled computers, a feature Kinder tested while visiting relatives in Florida.

&#8220I hooked up my little box, I took it with me, and people called me and didn't even know I was out of town,” Kinder said. &#8220It'll follow you anywhere you go in the world. I could go to England and if I had access to high-speed Internet, I could hook my box up and you could call me without any delays.

Kinder insists that the audio quality of VoIP is the same or better than regular phone service.However, VoIP is still a relatively new technology that has some hurdles to overcome. As of now, 911 cannot track the location of VoIP calls, so if the caller can't identify where they are at, emergency services cannot be sent to the location.

Also, the box is dependent on wall power, so an outage would mean a loss of service. Kinder said that this problem can be overcome with a computer that has back-up power from a surge protector.

With about 10 sign-ups so far, the going has been somewhat slow for the business, which was begun at the end of last year. But seeing as four of those were signed up in the last three weeks, Kinder his hopeful that business is picking up.

More information on the service is available at Kinder's Web site at or by calling him at (740) 532-3323.