Technology: Voices On Broadband

AT&T brings Internet phone calling to the masses. Don't worry--it's easy

Need another good reason to step up to high-speed Internet access at home? Here's one: it could save you money on your monthly telephone bill. That's because a technology called voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) lets you use your cable or DSL Internet connection to make cheap local and long-distance calls, all while using your regular home-phone handset. Previously offered mainly by small start-ups, VOIP has generated so much interest that long-distance giant AT&T began offering it this month.

VOIP works by converting the sound of your voice into digital packets of information that traverse the Internet in much the same...