The telecommunications marketplace has seen significant change in the past number of years. The proliferation of broadband in the corporate and residential markets has created an environment where new low cost and convergent routing techniques, such as VoIP, are becoming mainstream and the barriers to entry are significantly reduced.
Independent Cable Companies & ISPs, VARs and other service providers are now positioned to take advantage of the new multi-media delivery possibilities and can offer voice services directly to existing customers in addition to their core services and therefore bypass the conventional telecom providers.
According to research published by the Gartner Group, the U.S. market for consumer communications services has evolved into a new competitive environment. The notion of a "traditional" communication services provider, once clearly defined, has become blurred. Traditional telephone companies are offering video, and cable companies are offering voice solutions; independent VoIP providers have also entered the market. All of these service providers are now vying for the same consumer "revenue-generating unit," and attempting to capture market share with price incentives and bundled offerings.