Comcast Looks To 'Unlimited’ Phone Service

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Like other cable companies rolling out telephone services that run on high-speed Internet networks, Comcast Corp. is moving toward marketing a package of unlimited local, regional and long-distance calling for one set price.

The MSO, testing Internet telephony in a few markets, obtained a trademark for the “Comcast Unlimited” brand on March 26, according to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing.

Comcast spokesman Bob Smith confirmed last week that Comcast Unlimited is one of the brands being considered for telephone marketing. Comcast also recently trademarked “Comcast Digital Voice” and “Comcast Complete Any Distance.”

“It is not uncommon for us when launching products and services to come up with a range of names that we might like to try,” Smith said.

“We have not announced what the name of the service is going to be.”

Comcast first tested Internet telephony with employees in Coatesville, Pa., in 2002. During the last month, the MSO also launched tests with employees that work at systems in Springfield, Mass., and Indianapolis, Smith said.

But Smith said Comcast hasn’t yet tested price points. The trials are free to employees.

Comcast executives have said they’re looking to deploy Internet telephony nationwide in 2005, focusing this year on core video products and cable-modem services.

Other cable operators have been offering unlimited local, regional and long-distance Internet telephony for about $35 monthly, including Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable.

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