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Canada's Iristel begins offering VoIP service

Move marks opening of local phone competition in Northern Canada
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Iristel, a competitive Canadian service provider, on Wednesday began offering its VoIP service to Northern Canada businesses and consumers.

Marking the beginning of competition in the region's local phone market, the CLEC's service will be available in three areas: Yellowknife, Whitehorse, and Inuvik.

Allowing customers to keep their existing numbers, the new local phone service will be sold in Yellowknife through ICE Wireless and Global Storm; in Whitehorse through Midarctic Technology Services and Polar Group ICT; and in Inuvik by New North Networks.

"Residential and business customers can cut their local service phone bill in half, keep their existing phone numbers, not have to buy new equipment or change anything in the way they make calls now," said Samer Bishay, CEO of Iristel, in a news release announcing the new VoIP service.

What helped make the CLEC's move possible is that the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) enacted regulations last year that would allow other service providers to compete in Northern Canada's local phone market.

Iristel said that a multisite business customer that opts to purchase its cloud-based VoIP service would not have to pay the estimated $20,000 in costs to purchase and install a PBX system and avoid long-distance charges to make calls between their offices.

Having operated as a CLEC for 12 years, Iristel will offer a host of IP-based features, including virtual faxing, video conferencing, hosted auto attendant, IP trunking and wholesale services. It will also, on a short-term basis, extend local calling that will allow customers to dial any 867 number for free, not only the numbers within in their town's borders.

Bishay said that since it's a "pro-competition company," it will provide other emerging competitors "with the necessary resources at affordable wholesale rates" to challenge them and incumbents like Bell Canada.

New customers that subscribe to Iristel's VoIP service will able to get wireless services in the North through its partner ICE Wireless.

For more:
- see the release

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