Charter Targets Vonage Customers

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Charter Communications said it will provide free same- or next-day installation of its voice-over-Internet-protocol service to all current Vonage customers in its service area as Vonage waits to appeal a ruling in a patent-infringement case that bars it from using key VoIP patents.

"Concerned Vonage customers have been calling Charter over the past several weeks. Having reliable home phone service is important to them, so we developed a special program to provide rapid installation of Charter Telephone service to make the transition easier," Charter Telephone senior vice president and general manager Ted Schremp said in a prepared statement.

Charter noted that its VoIP service -- which is available to nearly 7 million homes -- runs over a private network, “unlike offerings such as Vonage that run on the public Internet.”

A federal judge two weeks ago issued an injunction blocking Vonage from using certain of Verizon Communications’ patents, including one covering the ability of a VoIP system to interact with the public telephone network.

A hearing scheduled for April 6 will determine whether to grant Vonage’s request for a stay of the injunction for 120 days. If the court denies the stay, Vonage said, it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals.

Charter landed its 500,000th VoIP customer in February, and it has more than quadrupled the number of customers for Charter Telephone since the beginning of 2006. Vonage has 2.2 million voice customers.

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