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Comcast Cable Communications Inc. said it has completed a six-month Voice-over-IP technology trial in the Detroit area.

Instead of a pure-IP set-up, Comcast tested packet voice services in the access network (home to headend) by leveraging TollBridge's TB300 gateway, Arris' DOCSIS 1.1-qualified C4 cable modem termination system and a Class 5 switch the MSO inherited via a system swap with AT&T Broadband. That same switch is also serving Comcast's existing constant-bit-rate telephony customers in the market.

Further down the road, Comcast plans to tap a fully-compliant PacketCable network to foster VoIP services and other multimedia, IP-based applications. Presently, the company is baking-off a variety of softswitches in its Philadelphia laboratory, and might consider a market trial for the technology later this year, Steve Craddock, Comcast's senior vice president of new media development, said in an earlier interview.

TollBridge said the completed test marks a milestone for the company "because it validates our product strategy and provides an alternative for Comcast to offer cable telephony services to their subscribers without waiting for the full completion of the end-to-end VoIP network," said TollBridge President and CEO Gary Tauss, in a press release.

TollBridge's gateway is designed to allow cable operators to offer IP telephone services via a traditional Class 5 switch, but also to migrate to a full PacketCable network.

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