Wheels on the bus go round and round, and now WiFi is along for the ride. More school buses than ever are outfitted with WiFi capabilities, and just this week, a group of Indianapolis students began lobbying for WiFi in their school buses in the Kokomo Center Township Consolidated Schools district. If their lobbying works, they will become the first school district in the state with WiFi school buses.
Students can use WiFi for more than Facebook status updates and Tweets. WiFi makes it easier to use other things like cheap Internet calling applications, also known as VoIP. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), is the technology that enables Internet calling on WiFi devices. Internet calls are exceedingly cheaper than traditional phone service. The average price of residential VoIP is around $8/month or less, versus around $80/month with traditional service providers, like AT&T and Verizon.
VoIP-enabled phones is a lifesaver for parents with chatty kids. All VoIP providers offer unlimited local and nationwide calling. Many VoIP providers also offer cheap SMS texting capabilities for text-happy preteens and teenagers.
Mobile VoIP is simple to use. Parents simply need to download their home VoIP service onto their children’s phone as an app. The kids just need to open the app when they need to make a phone call to their friends or family.
Of course, school buses are only one part of the growing trend of WiFi on public transportation. WiFi is available on the subways of New York, buses in California, trains across the country, and even onboard some major airlines.
As long as there is an Internet connection, you have access to cheap VoIP service (however, you should note that using your phone for VoIP calling while on a plane is still against the rules on most lines!). And while students on the school bus might use VoIP for calls and texting, adults on the bus can use VoIP to run a business.
VoIP’s Internet calling capabilities allow for things like call forwarding from an office phone to a smartphone, 3-way calling for impromptu conference calls on the way to work, and IP faxing which, among other things, sends faxes as emails so users can check the latest faxes or send faxes straight from their smartphone.
Of course, if the parent’s company uses business VoIP, the parents might have their office extensions programed to ring of their smartphone so they can work remotely and not commute at all. Students, unfortunately, still have commute to school Monday through Friday.
But whether it’s on the bus, the train, or the plane, VoIP is there for cheap phone calls for fun, or school work, or for business.
Jennifer Cuellar is a writer based out of San Diego who writes about the latest developments in VoIP and IP technology.