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March 25, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:14pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Internet telephony has been a ticking time bomb for about 18 months now, and yesterday, USA Global Link Inc, a Fairfield, Iowa international callback operator launched the first global phone- to-phone Internet service. Called Global Internetwork, and planned to be available in 35 countries within three months, the service will not require users on either end to have a computer. Instead, customers will use touch-tone phones to access a phone service server which will digitize the analog call and transmit it via the Internet to any telephone in the world. And, disconcertingly, the company claims the quality of the call will be equal to or better than current calls routed by satellite and far better than first generation Internet telephony. And because the cost is only the local call charge to the nearest participating Internet access provider, the company says it will be able to offer 80% to 90% discounts over traditional international telephony rates, much better even than callback rates. USA Global Link says it is in process of signing up local Internet service providers around the world; users will sign up for the service through a local affiliates and will be charged on a per-call basis. And the company claims that establishing the international network will require an investment of only $500m, far less than would be required for a facilities-based international phone system. Early target countries for the new service include the US, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and Brazil.

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