What's a good yet affordable conference call system, which can hold a conference in which anyone can join by either phone or the internet, as desired?
April 15, 2012 1:20 AM   Subscribe

What is a good conference calling service for use in Canada (Ottawa specifically), which allows people to connect by computer or by phone in a single conference? I'm on a budget too.

I am doing some stuff with a local charity, and people have been getting upset recently that we make decisions about important stuff when they are not there - and at the same time it's of course impossible to find a time when everyone will come to the meetings, nevermind a regular time.

So, conference calling to the rescue, right? Well it can help a bit. However I have previously tried to get conference calling on a budget working and never could. There are always sound quality issues, it's too expensive, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

I need a serviceable system with which I can set up and run a conference call by phone and also, when I choose to, by computer.

Also people should be able to join by phone or pure-internet.

By pure-internet I mean without using the computer with say Skype-out to simply use your computer to connect to the phone system, and thence to my conference call. Just purely over the internet, with no need to go through the telephone network.

This is because there are some people who have high rates on their cell phones, no access to a landline, and also do not have skype-out or similar. So the internet is the only acceptable method of connecting to them.

P.s. google voice has limits in Canada, no incoming calls.
posted by Nish ton to Technology (4 answers total)
I have used GoToMeeting before and it works well. I think it meets your criteria, but it does cost money depending on the number of people using the service.
It sounds like Skype might really be your answer for budgetary reasons. You can Skype on a smartphone using WiFi to avoid high rates, but I guess that won't help with those on cell phones.
If I understand correctly you're trying to avoid using Skype or similar for those on their computers only? Is there anyway to overcome that obstacle ie everyone using their computer uses Skype?
posted by Snazzy67 at 6:34 AM on April 15, 2012

Ditto gotomeeting. It's also one of the few options that works for public service people.
posted by bonehead at 6:49 AM on April 15, 2012

Response by poster: I can't start and manage a skype call from a phone though. Skype is find as long as people didn't have to get a skype-out account, which is $15 or something. As a system, with skype, if the host of the call is at their computer that is a viable solution which allows people to join either by phone or pure-internet, although the host must call people to add them rather than them calling in because there is no skype-in available in Canada.

But you can't start and run a conference call from a normal phone using skype as far as I can tell.

I checked the site for gogomeeting and it looks internet only. You can use a smartphone and their app to get into the conference over the internet, but I need something that works over the normal phone system because a lot of people don't have android phones or iphones.
posted by Nish ton at 5:31 PM on April 15, 2012

GoToMeeting users can connect for audio either through the Internet or by calling a regular phone number and entering a code. They probably aren't clear about this because they are focused on screen sharing and remote use (it's the greatest thing for tech support). But you totally can just use it as a conference line. You may want to give the free trial a shot and see if it'll work for you.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:56 PM on April 15, 2012

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