Fax senders can save money by sending data across the Internet to relay volunteers.
Engineers at Dover Beach Consulting, in Mountain View, Calif., dub their new fax-sending scheme the Remote Printing Experiment. The idea saves fax senders money by providing a means of bypassing long-distance phone lines and dispatching the same information (text or graphics) across the Internet in the form of electronic mail, even when the recipient does not use E-mail services.
The concept requires the voluntary services of an experienced Internet user at the receiving end of the fax. Instead of transmitting a fax via land line, the sender ships it by modem into Internet's E-mail system. An addressing protocol automatically delivers the message not to the intended recipient but to the nearest volunteer's computer, which automatically takes the call. The volunteer (usually a private individual but sometimes someone at a business or a university) takes in the E-mail and relays it as a fax transmission over a local phone line to its final destination. The only cost to the sender is that of sending the E-mail message, which in many cases is essentially nothing.
Toll savings can be considerable. Dover has established relay volunteers at key points across the United States and as far away as Australia. Among other countries already on-line or soon to be added are Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Japan, and Sweden. To request details, call Dover at 415-968-1052, or drop a note to "email@example.com" over the Internet.