VOIP (Voice over IP) phone services have been gradually creeping into the marketplace in the past years, with a certain amount of "buzz" but also some ambiguity about the actual benefits, especially for "average consumers".
This page is a very brief summary / starting point to illustrate a few specific "areas of phone service" which have some significant benefits to "normal day to day users" of the phone services discussed below. Clearly, if you don't use the relevant service, the potential benefits are negligable!
Please note that services I cite below are simply examples which I've tested and like. This is NOT to say that they are inherently superior to any/all alternatives, but simply that (they exist / they work / I like them.)
Computer Mediated Long Distance Calls: (Skype, JaJah, etc.): If you (and possibly the people you are calling) are comfortable using a headset and mic AND typically have hi-speed internet, this sort of service may be of great use.
Local Phone Line - Second Line or Replacement Line: Using a small "blackbox" in conjunction with an appropriate service provider, you can convert a normal phone into a "low cost" landline replacement / supplement. An added bonus is low long distance rates.
Conference Calling: If you routinely have conference calls with more than 3 participants, 3rd party conference call solutions exist with significantly lower per-minute fees than traditional (Aliant) local providers.
3rd Party Long Distance: If you make a lot of long distance calls but want minimal complexity, this route may give you the easiest access to lower per-minute rates than your current carrier.