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More than one-third of British companies think the Internet calling technology is too expensive to install and run, and therefore miss out on the cost benefits

Companies are missing out on the long-term benefits of VoIP because they're too afraid of the short-term pain of putting in the systems, a new survey has revealed.

More than one-third of UK companies fear the telephony technology is too pricey to install and run, according to a survey sponsored by VoIP software company Shortel.

Seventy per cent of respondents said cost reductions were the main attraction of VoIP. Other benefits cited included 'managing calls more effectively' and 'enabling home and mobile working'.

Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca, agreed in principle with the findings and said it is important organisations understand the level of commitment needed to realise the long-term benefits of VoIP.

Bamforth said companies need to be aware there will be ongoing costs associated with VoIP. For example if a company's existing IP network cannot cope with the extra traffic VoIP calls bring, it may need to fork out for additional infrastructure upgrade and support costs. More than one-third of the survey respondents also believe IP telephony systems are too complicated to manage.

Bamforth agreed VoIP offerings could be simplified and said service providers need to start selling VoIP as a service - offering calls at flat rates - to get companies interested in and make them less fearful of IP telephony.

The Brits are among the slowest to catch on to new services such as VoIP and IPTV compared to other countries, according to recent research for Ofcom.

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