SBC Communications Inc. (quote - news - alert) announced today that the telecom expects to launch its residential VoIP-enabled (VoIP - define - news - alert) calling service by early 2005. The new service is expected to significantly expand the company’s residential IP-based service offering, which already includes DSL high speed broadband services.
The company plans to roll out the new service, which is now being beta tested in Los Angeles, CA; Dallas and San Antonio, TX; and Chicago, IL; by early next year. The service will use IP technology and a DSL Internet connection to deliver not only voice calling but also other enhanced features, such as a Web-based portal and advanced call-management capabilities that make it easier for customers to manage their communications.
“When we fully launch our service early next year, consumers will be able to choose between traditional and traditional plus next-generation voice services from SBC companies,” said Randall Stephenson, SBC’s chief operating officer. “Over time, we expect that VoIP will be a preferred voice service because of the features and benefits this technology enables.
The SBC VoIP service will have a Web portal with features such as “find me” and enhanced “do not disturb,” giving customers the ability to specify which numbers can ring through, as well as a click-to-call capability that lets customers call friends and family in their contact list. The service will also have popular fixed line telephone calling features, such as voicemail, call waiting and forwarding, caller ID with name and three-way calling.
“Our VoIP services continue to evolve, as we introduce innovative features that take full advantage of the power of IP technology,” added Stephenson. “Residential VoIP is an important emerging technology, and with our industry-leading base of DSL customers and our ability to integrate wireline and wireless communications services in new ways, we’re committed to playing a leading role in this growth market — just as we have in the business VoIP market.”
Today’s announcement follows SBC’s Project Lightspeed effort announced last month. Through Project Lightspeed, the company plans to build a fiber optic-based network that will use IP technology to deliver digital TV, VoIP and high-speed broadband services to 18 million customers in two to three years.
In September, SBC inked contracts for several large-business VoIP deployments, including a deal to create and manage a VoIP network for 50,000 Ford employees located in 110 different facilities.
The company says it’s taking advantage of the FCC’s recent ruling on the VoIP state tax ordeal by accelerating its plans to rollout its Internet telephony service. “The FCC is moving to create an environment that promotes investment and innovation in IP services,” Stephenson said. “It is important that federal, state and local authorities keep the road clear so that this technology can reach consumers faster. The fact that we are accelerating our investment to bring new technologies to the market more quickly shows how good policies can deliver good results to consumers.”
|Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.