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Charter rings up partners for VoIP

Mon, 08/30/2004 - 8:00pm
Karen Brown

With help from a trio of partners, Charter Communications Inc. plans to greatly turn up the volume for voice-over-Internet Protocol telephony service in select markets.

The St. Louis-based MSO struck agreements with Sprint Corp. and Level 3 Communications Inc. to provide the core connectivity for VoIP service, and it inked a deal with Accenture to provide the provisioning services.

Charter already has 31,000 telephony customers in multiple markets. Banking on Sprint and Level 3's IP networks, Charter plans to expand telephony deployments in each of its divisions by 2005, according to Tom Cullen, Charter's executive vice president of advanced services and business development.

"Our objective was to significantly improve our cost structure over our current position and decrease the time required to deploy telephony services," Cullen said, in a release. "Level 3 and Sprint have the networks, the technical expertise, and the experience we were looking for in an underlying provider."

Partnering with two network operators also lets Charter pick the best network option for each individual market. Cullen noted the MSO will "continue to look at other potential partners in order to further gain critical competitive advantage."

The provisioning services deal with Accenture, meanwhile, will also speed time to market for VoIP products, according to Charter. Accenture's automated provisioning product offered significant cost savings compared to other backoffice systems Charter considered, according to Cullen.

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