Comcast Taking VoIP Plunge

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Comcast Corp. is jumping on the voice-over-Internet-protocol bandwagon.

The MSO said Wednesday that it will launch VoIP to more than 40 million households by 2006, following in the footsteps of fellow MSO giants Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems Corp. and Cox Communications Inc.

The MSO already has a copper-wire phone business it acquired along with AT&T Broadband, with 1.2 million customers. But it has been scaling back that business to concentrate on VoIP.

Comcast said it recently conducted VoIP trials in Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Springfield, Mass.

Newly elected chairman and reigning president and CEO Brian Roberts said Comcast will have upgraded 95% of its network to accommodate voice calls by the end of 2005.

"We have used this time since the [AT&T Broadband] merger [in November 2002] to roll out the next generation of telephony that will include video, integrated messaging and all of the things a computer can do," Roberts said at the company’s annual meeting in Philadelphia Wednesday.

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