Looks like the videophone may now be a reality, and in reach for most people. Packet8: not only has standard residential and business VoIP service, but also a high quality videophone service as well.
The videophone service requires purchase of the videophone hardware, and of course the party you wish to video conference with must have the same hardware as well. You can make regular (non-video) calls to any number and customers report the service as excellent. To get best quality, you'll need about 256K bidirectional bandwith which is standard with most cable internet services, but may not be available with some DSL services.
Comparing the Packet 8 service to others, it offers similar plans (unlimited residential, business and toll international calls) at a reasonable monthly cost. Packet 8 sets itself apart by offering the videophone service, which is not readily available as well as an enhanced business service called "Virtual Office". The business service includes a conference bridge (up to 20 connections), an auto attendant, voicemail, custom features and unlimited calling to any US and Canada telephone for each extension. This is great for any small to mid-sized office that needs PBX style service at a fraction of the cost.
The standard features included with all plans include all the normal functions you'd expect, plus distinctive ringing, fax, 3 way conferencing, caller id blocking, call return and anonymous call blocking. You can port your current phone number, although it may take up to 6 weeks. During this waiting period, you'll be assigned a temporary number to use.
You can select your phone number based on area code, although all areas aren't avialable, they have a good coverage area. You can select a number from any area they offer. Currently, only US numbers are available. Vonage offer US and UK numbers, and Skype offers US, UK, Hong Kong and France (note, Skype is mainly for personal use at this time).
Packet 8 also offers optional services including enhanced 911 service, virtual phone numbers, toll free numbers and do not disturb options. Note that the 911 service incurs an additional monthly cost; in comparison, Vonage includes 911 service at no additional cost.
Whether you're looking for home/home office, small-to-medium business, or video conferencing VoIP telephone service, you'll find Packet 8 offers high quality plans at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone service.
To get more information, visit Packet 8.