Net-based phones lure more users

By Michelle Kessler, USA TODAY

When Kevin Cocco’s friends in Montreal want to chat, they dial a local Quebec phone number — but it rings 2,300 miles away in his Utah home. Cocco’s Salt Lake City friends dial a different number, local to them. It, too, rings in his home. All his calls also simultaneously ring on Cocco’s cell phone, letting him stay connected while snowboarding the Utah slopes. Think of it as a kind of high-tech call-forwarding that lets the phone ring at home, too.

The phone system costs Cocco, 34, about $20 a month because he uses a fast-growing technology called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. VoIP calls travel over the Internet, much as e-mails do. That doesn’t mean Cocco is shouting into his computer. He just plugs a regular telephone into a special adapter, which is plugged into his home’s broadband connection.

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