Taipei switches on massive citywide VoIP system

The capital of Taiwan is pushing the technology envelope once again, this time turning on VoIP Internet phone service in government offices and schools across the city, an InfoWorld Daily report said.

The InfoWorld report said city government offices, the Taipei City Council, and 234 schools throughout the city switched to VoIP systems from traditional phone lines, an official said. The entire effort is expected to save the city NT$400,000 ($12,340) per month in phone bills starting from early next year.

The most popular type of VOIP software people use on PCs for free PC to PC calling today is from Skype, but companies and schools can also build an entire network that looks and acts like a traditional phone system, but still sends calls out over the Internet, the report said.

Taipei built its system with help from corporate member's of a local organization developed to promote Wi-Fi and VoIP in Taiwan, IP Phone Open Exchange (IPOX) 070, as well as TeleSynergy Research, of Sunnyvale, California, the report added.

One added feature the government included for citizens is a tab on its home page that users can click to make Web calls directly to a government Citizen Call Center, the 1999 hotline.

It's the second major technology success for the city this year. In June, Taipei inaugurated the largest Wi-Fi network in the world, with 90% coverage of the city's 2.6 million people through 4,000 hotspots, the report further said.