Jacksonville, Fla. -- MediaOne customers here and in
Lighthouse Point, Fla., can now make and receive phone calls as part of their cable
Last Tuesday, the MSO kicked off the next phase of what
will be a nationwide launch of cable-telephone services, which are already active in
MediaOne's Atlanta-area and Los Angeles systems.
Tellabs Operations Inc. -- a pioneer in cable-telephony
products, which hung in during the many MSO stutter-steps in that category -- is providing
the equipment for the two MediaOne markets.
About 350 MediaOne customers in Jacksonville and Lighthouse
Point participated in cable-phone beta-tests that started in June, and all of
MediaOne's customers in those two markets can now sign up for the service, which is
priced at "15 percent to 20 percent lower" than the local telephone
company's alternative, executives said. The MSO is hoping to install up to 10,000
phone lines in those markets by year-end.
MediaOne executives said in a prepared statement that
they've already spent $89 million on network upgrades in Jacksonville and $38 million
in southeast Florida to build up capacity for two-way broadband services. MediaOne's
next launch markets, according to sources close to the MSO's plans, will be other
Florida systems and Boston.
Customers who sign up get free installation, plus one month
of free phone service and three months of free voice mail. After that, they pay $21.95 per
month for one phone line with call waiting, caller ID and 14 extra features. Plus, those
customers can retain their existing home phone numbers and long-distance companies,
MediaOne executives said.
"It's really a win-win service for the
customer," said Gary Lane, vice president of telephone services for MediaOne's
national markets group. "For the first time, customers have a choice for their local
residential phone service.
MediaOne is also offering a 30-day "switch-back
guarantee" for customers who want to sample the service before signing on.