"The idea of using the Internet as an alternative to the telephone network is not new, but the software that makes it possible certainly is revolutionary."

This is according to the authors of a new free book, VoIP-4D primer - building voice infrastructure in developing regions released yesterday.

Funded by the International Development Research Center of Canada, the book's primary target is users in the developing world but it has enough detail and hands-on information to be useful to a broad range of users new to free software Voice over IP (VoIP).

The free guide to VoIP, available in four major languages, is an effort to disseminate the use of telephony over the Internet in developing regions.

The 40-page guide targets both technical and non-technical readers. The first part presents the essentials of telephony over the Internet. For those interested in the more technical details, hands-on guidelines and configuration files are included in the second part. The examples provide essential background to build your own low-cost telephony system.

The last part demonstrates three realistic scenarios of how VoIP can be deployed in rural communities in developing regions. The scenarios cover how to build a local telephony system and how to connect it to other voice networks. Through these scenarios, you will learn how your own local VoIP network, built with inexpensive equipment, can link to the traditional telephony network and other voice networks anywhere on the Internet.

The booklet, VoIP-4D primer, building voice infrastructure in developing regions, is written by IT +46, a Swedish consultancy company focusing on innovative usage of IT technology in the developing world.

The guide is licensed under the Creative Commons Non-commercial Share-Alike license. It is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. Free PDF downloads are available in