How to voice conference internationally, cheaply?
March 3, 2010 8:25 AM   Subscribe

What is the best method to voice conference when a few of the meeting attendees are on a slow/unreliable connection in Africa?

I run a small nonprofit, with several staff in East Africa and a board of directors in the United States.

We are looking for a free (or cheap) method so that the staff in Africa can attend our monthly meeting. We used to do text chat on Skype, but that is very slow and cumbersome. We have tried voice conference on Skype, which works great for the folks in the United States, but terribly for those in Africa because they were constantly getting cut off from the discussion and had to keep being re-added, plus we could not hear them and they would have to add their comments by text chat several minutes delayed. I tried to call them via cell phone, but Skype will not allow me to voice conference a Skype to Skype discussion with Skype to phone.

Has anyone tried anything better?
posted by treehorn+bunny to Technology (3 answers total)
In my own VOIP attempts in a developing country, Google Voice worked better than Skype.
posted by k8t at 8:54 AM on March 3, 2010

GoToMeeting has fairly responsive customer service... I've used it for teleconferences where people are all over the map... There can be server lag, but a quick email to an admin has worked in the past.

My only solution for getting around the problem of lag has been to use voice and chat simultaneously... Folks who are cut off can text in a question, and you can also relay their questions and comments to the group.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for your help. I will give Google Voice a try.

We tried GoToMeeting once on a free trial, and couldn't get it to work. I might try it again, but it costs money so I'm looking for any free options first! :-)
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:05 PM on March 3, 2010

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