Rogers draws up 'lifeline' VoIP plans

Wed, 03/31/2004 - 7:00pm

Rogers Cable said its board of directors has stamped approval on a plan to deploy IP telephony services. Rogers hopes to offer the service to about 1.8 million homes by mid-2005, and extend it to the majority of its service areas in 2006. The Canada-based MSO passes 3.2 million homes in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Rogers hopes to offer a lifeline VoIP service with backup powering that offers traditional features such as directory assistance, enhanced 911, call waiting, caller ID and voice mail. The MSO said it will build the service by leveraging its existing DOCSIS network, PacketCable standards and infrastructure, and billing and network elements from sister company Rogers Wireless.

"The integration of a digital voice-over-cable telephone service with Rogers' popular high-speed Internet product–and then with our Rogers Wireless services–will create new service offerings far beyond anything available today from traditional providers of telephone or Internet service," said Ted Rogers, president and CEO of Rogers Communications.

But there's a catch. The MSO said it will proceed with the plan only if regulatory conditions remain favorable.

If they do, Rogers expects the capital costs of the deployment to reach $200 million, with $140 million to $170 million of that total tagged for 2004. The variable capital cost of adding each IP voice subscriber, including switching and gateway capacity and CPE equipment, will reach $300 to $340 per customer, Rogers estimated.


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