Internet system slashes international phone rates

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GENEVA -- USA Global Link, the Iowa-based provider of discount international telecoms services, has launched what it claims is the first global telephone-to-telephone system via the Internet, Global Internetwork.

The main benefit of the system, which does not require either the caller or the receiver to have a computer, is that the price of international calls are slashed by 80%-90% by routing transmission through the Internet, the company says. USA Global Link claims that quality is not hindered by the process and that voice, data, fax and video transmissions can all be handled by the system.

Global Internetwork represents a $500m investment which will be used to roll out the concept throughout the world over the course of this year. The company claims that this is the first global telephone system "unfettered by the byzantine constraints of the international accounting rates system, the stifling control of global telephone monopolies or the smothering bureaucracy of giant telcos."

"This technological 'great leap forward' will revolutionize global telecommunications and help usher in an era of ubiquitous, inexpensive communications," says Christopher W. Hartnett, founder and chairman of USA Global Link. "This is the future of international long distance telephony."

Calls are transformed from analog to digital signal and transmitted via the Internet to any telephone in the world. When the call reaches its destination country, the data is converted back into analog voice format and forwarded to the recipient via the local telephone system.

The launch was announced in Geneva, where the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union, the branch of the United Nations which governs world telecommunications, is based.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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