Covad Communications Group became the latest broadband operator to jump on the IP telephony bandwagon Monday, announcing plans to offer the service to consumers and to small- and medium-sized businesses in major markets by the fourth quarter of 2004.
"From our national last-mile broadband network to our automated provisioning, support and billing, we believe we can leverage many of our core competencies to become a leading turnkey VoIP solution provider in the United States," said Covad President and CEO Charles Hoffman.
In a veiled shot at services like Vonage, Hoffman noted that "while many VoIP competitors are forced to deliver a best-effort service over a third-party broadband network, we have the ability to guarantee the quality of our voice service from end to end because Covad owns the network."
Covad's national broadband network covers about 45 million homes and businesses. Voice, the company said, "is a natural extension" of Covad's existing infrastructure.
Initially, Covad plans to offer three VoIP targets for business customers: Basic Voice, Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) Voice, and Virtual PBX. Covad said it would launch a consumer VoIP service at a later date.
Covad said it expects to begin market trials by mid-year, and follow with rollouts by the fourth quarter.