More VoIP options for Eastern Ontario

Businesses in Ottawa and eastern Ontario have another option for voice over IP (VoIP) now that the u-telco Telecom Ottawa, has entered the market.

Telecom Ottawa, the connective offshoot of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc., will offer hosted VoIP services, or IP Centrex, in what Telecom Ottawa’s COO, Dave Dobbin calls a “true partnership” with OneConnect, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Globalive Communications Inc.

Through its partnership with OneConnect, Telecom Ottawa, which runs IP services over its 10-Gigabit Ethernet fibre network, can offer VoIP and other IP multimedia services across the entire country.

OneConnect currently offers its hosted VoIP services directly to businesses in Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Kingston, Ont., St. Catharines, Ont. and Barrie, Ont. said Nicole Mumford, vice-president of sales with OneConnect. The company also partners with other firms, but Mumford declined to name them.

With the Telecom Ottawa partnership, OneConnect’s customers can now get VoIP in Eastern Ontario. Also, Dobbin said Telecom Ottawa’s system will be the backup system for OneConnect’s Toronto operation and OneConnect’s Toronto operation will be the backup system for Telecom Ottawa’s.

Dobbin said Telecom Ottawa is targeting new customers as well as existing ones, from small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises.

To provide the IP multimedia services, Telecom Ottawa and OneConnect both use Nortel Network’s Multimedia Communications Server (MCS). To ensure customers can be reached anywhere, a “find-me-follow-me” feature consolidates all a user’s phone numbers — home, office, mobile — into a single number, which means the user can be reached anytime. When someone calls the single number, the phone rings at all of the user’s points of contact but the call is routed to the device that picks up first, Mumford explained.

Plus, the user need only deal with one electronic mailbox because all of her voice mail messages are routed directly to the e-mail inbox. Additionally, a soft client feature lets mobile workers connect to these services from anywhere — whether working from home or on the road.

As well as unified messaging and one-number service, customers will have access to more communications tools, including file-sharing, collaboration and desktop video-calling.

Telecom Ottawa also offers high-speed Internet, e-mail and Web hosting, as well as wireless and remote Internet access services.

Brownlee Thomas, principal analyst, telecom and networks research group at Forrester Research Inc. in Montreal, said this next step of offering VoIP is a natural add-on for Telecom Ottawa. She said it makes sense for the u-telco to leverage its existing IP network for new services — services that might help the carrier compete against communication juggernauts.

“Rather than lose those customers to Bell, [Telecom Ottawa] is looking for a way to hold onto those customers,” she said.

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