As the adage has us believe, ‘talk is cheap.’ However, this has seldom, if ever, been the experience of consumers when it comes time to pay the monthly phone bill. Even as market forces and a plethora of service options and providers offer a range of monetarily competing pricing schemes, use of a telephone has not been free. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average price of a monthly cell phone bill in 2003 was approximately fifty dollars, while other sources place this figure in excess of sixty dollars. But now, thankfully, help is on the way.

This relief comes via the services of PeerMe, Inc. An internationally established company, PeerMe has developed a means of utilizing PC Phones to permit PC’s for calling other PC’s over the internet – completely bypassing long distance charges. The product has already been introduced into the Japanese and South Korean markets, and is now being made available to the United States household consumer. In brief, this product will permit unlimited voice communication between any persons, anywhere in the world, registered and logged onto the PeerMe network…for FREE.

The technology used by PeerMe is not dissimilar to that which has popularized the use of instant messaging mechanisms. Instant messaging and chat room usage themselves are estimated to amount for over fifty percent of the time an average user spends online. However, unlike instant messaging and chat services, there is an additional option for those on the PeerMe network to click on talk, and thus be privy to verbal communication. No longer will those relying on instant messaging be sentenced to keep their fingers in constant ready position, wondering whether the person at the other end is finished corresponding or not. Now, communication via the PC can effectively supplant the appeal of the telephone, and with no financial burden.

In order to gain access to the PeerMe network, one needs only to download the PeerMe software. For the purposes of sound, you can use a portable PC’s internal speaker and Microphone – or add an inexpensive head set with a microphone to your PC. With respect to the personal market for this product, in addition to its obvious appeal in facilitating day to day individual communication, PeerMe envisions a wide range of advantages that will accrue to Internet community services, such as photo sharing, classifieds, blogs, dating and other similar services.

Development of this technology carries with it a myriad of potential advantages for others than the common consumer as well. Obvious gains with respect to the financial community and business environment include both lessening financial costs and streamlining communication. Further, use of PeerMe promotes social and educational development through a network that facilitates such activities as distance learning, telemedicine and e-government. And of course, it need not be utilized merely for vocal communication.

Consumers undoubtedly share some questions, if not concerns, with regard to this new technology. For example, how reliable is such a network? At least in some respects, the PeerMe network offers the potential for higher reliability than circuit switched networks due to its ability to automatically reroute around malfunctioning routers and/or damaged lines. Furthermore, the quality of the transmission is held to be superior to that of generic telephone connections.

Lastly, and importantly, PeerMe is a continually evolving and service enhancing product, actively incorporating continuing feedback and suggestions from persons on the network into more advanced versions of the product. Already there is work in theaters pertaining to the downloading of files. The pace of product innovation will not slacken anytime soon, as the technology utilized is at the cutting edge of today’s high tech industry. Ultimately, the speed of development and widespread impact of this knowledge, and its corresponding application with relation to PeerMe, is potentially comparable to that of the Internet itself at the start of the nineties and is positioned to revolutionize day-to-day household activities.