As one technology catches on, so does another. According to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based market research firm, In-Stat, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) usage is up and will continue to grow. The firm reports that 20 percent of U.S. businesses currently use VoIP, and more will jump on the bandwagon. By 2011, two-thirds of U.S. businesses will have some form of VoIP service.

At the same time, there was an almost two-fold increase in the number of North American subscribers to cable telephony services in 2006, and the two trends are related. In-Stat finds the increasing availability of VoIP services in North America was directly responsible for the jump in cable telephony subscribers because it is generally less expensive than traditional circuit-switched telephony. Worldwide, the company reports, cable telephony subscribers increased to more than 22 million in 2006, up sharply from 15.8 million in 2005.

“VoIP is particularly attractive to businesses with dispersed work forces, where long-distance savings can be easily achieved,” said David Lemelin, In-Stat analyst.

 Businesses also are drawn to the technology in part because of the choices it gives them. The firm reports multiple VoIP solutions are used by 36 percent of businesses that have adopted VoIP, with broadband IP telephony solutions resonating most strongly with smaller and IP PBX with larger ones.

However, VoIP is not poised to completely dominate the landscape. Lemelin said, “It is not typically embraced as the sole source of voice communications for the vast majority of businesses that have adopted VoIP to date.” In fact, 44 percent of the businesses that use VoIP continue to use traditional voice lines as well. EC