Yesterday I downloaded and installed Skype VOIP software and tested it out with calls to friends in North Carolina, Sierra Leone and my fille manquee in Thamesmead.
It all worked pretty well, especially the call to Freetown. I was connected in seconds. My wife's family comes from those parts so we make quite a few calls to that country There have been times when I have had to wait hours for BT to get through. When I have got through there has been an echo on the line. This time, the reception was as clear as a bell. Best of all was the tariff. I paid €0.02 per minute for the USA and €0.28 for Freetown including Luxembourg VAT. If my US and Freetown friends had already downloaded Skype software it would have cost us nothing.
For a few euro more one can get a local telephone number and voice mail in any one of several countries which relay the call to one's PC if connected to the internet or to voice mail or any other number if not. I took lines in LA ((213) 985-3546), New York City ((646) 797-2829) and Hong Kong (8120 3595). So Angelenos, New Yorkers and Hong Kong folk - feel free to call me up at your leisure.