Following some earlier trials, Cox Communications has rolled out telephony services commercially in Roanoke, Va., marking the MSO's first market to go commercial with an advanced IP-based voice platform. Cox already offers telephony in 11 other markets using traditional circuit-switched platforms.

Cox had also conducted some earlier VoIP trial work in Oklahoma City, offering IP in the access network and leveraging a legacy Class 5 switch. The operator is going all-IP to support voice service in Roanoke, where Cox passes about 85,629 homes and serves north of 58,000 cable customers.

There, Cox is offering traditional "lifeline" voice service, including features such as enhanced 911, call waiting, caller ID and voice mail. Customers who take the service will use multimedia terminal adapters that house batteries with enough juice for eight hours of backup power.

The operator is offering its "Cox Connection 60" plan for $34.90 per month, a package that includes unlimited local calls, voice mail and 60 minutes of long distance service. Cox's $49.95 per month "Unlimited" VoIP tier offers unlimited long distance.

"The launch of Cox Digital Telephone in Roanoke is monumental for Cox," said David Pugliese, Cox's vice president of product marketing and management. "It furthers our commitment to providing customers with a full-service package of communications and entertainment services, while also allowing us to expand our phone service footprint and maximize the power of our nationwide IP backbone network with the use of VoIP technology."

Cox also offers phone service in San Diego and Orange County, Calif.; Phoenix; Omaha, Neb.; Connecticut; Rhode Island; Hampton Roads, Va.; New Orleans, La.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Wichita, Kansas; and Tucson, Ariz.

Cox is "optimistic" that it will launch VoIP in several more markets in 2004, pending the results in Roanoke, company spokesman Bobby Amirshahi said.