Software for free phone calls worldwide starts download stampede  

Telecoms analysts say the free Skype programme could have major significance for telephony costs worldwide

According to telecoms analysts who have spoken to free daily newspaper MetroXpress, a small programme designed to run on PCs and available for free download, could have major significance for telephony costs worldwide. The P2P (peer-to-peer) programme is called Skype, and according to its makers (who earlier produced the KaZaA file sharing programme) it enables people with an internet connection to make free phone calls all over the world with better sound quality than regular phones. It only requires that Skype is also installed on the receiver's PC.


If the running counter of downloads on Skype's website is to be believed, there should be no shortage of people to phone. After just 5 weeks, the counter has clocked up more than 1 million downloads. The Danish co-founder of Skype, Janus Friis, is unabashed in stating the company's ambition. "We will be the global telephone company for the young and hip" he says, although one suspects that free phone calls worldwide could prove equally attractive to the parents or even grandparents of the young and hip.


Skype describes the programme on its website as a true P2P system, that is, one where all nodes in a network join together dynamically to participate in traffic routing, processing and bandwidth intensive tasks that would otherwise be handled by central servers. Fortunately, no configuration of the programme is apparently needed when Skype is installed. The news is reported by national broadsheet Jyllands-Posten.


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