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UK.gov conference centre goes VoIP

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The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London's Westminster has hooked up to Verizon's VoIP service, giving users discounted calling and free connections to other Verizon VoIP customers.

The conference centre is an executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government and is among the first UK government bodies to commit to VoIP.

Verizon has been providing internet connectivity to the centre for eight years, but the implementation of a new PABX encouraged the move to a VoIP infrastructure. For the moment a mix of wired analogue and IP handsets are used, speaking to the PABX which then routes the calls over IP onto the Verizon network. Connections to other Verizon VoIP customers are free, while other calls (the vast majority) enjoy significant savings.

The centre experimented with VoIP over Wi-Fi last year, using 802.11b technology, but found the performance unacceptable, so it's only making cautious moves in that direction this time around.

Part of the impetus behind the project was the observation that delegates were using the IP connectivity at the centre to make calls over Skype and other VoIP networks. However, by partnering with Verizon, the centre has been able to obtain service level guarantees and dedicate part of its bandwidth to the VoIP service to ensure quality and reliability. ®

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