Cogeco Cable of Canada has launched IP telephony services in Trois-Rivieres in Quebec and in the Burlington/Oakville area in Ontario.

Cogeco said high-speed subs in Burlington and Oakville can get the service today, and it will gradually extend the offering to most cities it serves by December 2006.

Based on the PacketCable architecture, Cogeco's service will sell for $44.99 per month when bundled with data and video services. The rate rises to $49.99 when combined only with the high-speed service.

The service offers unlimited calling in Canada and the continental United States, and traditional phone features such as directory assistance, e911 and technical assistance. A battery in the multimedia terminal adapter (MTA) will offer up to eight hours of backup in the case of a power failure.

Down the road, Cogeco plans to offer integrated PC- and TV-based messaging and video telephony, according to company President & CEO Louis Audet.

On the vendor end, Cogeco has tapped TELUS to handle the interconnection with the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Cisco Systems is providing the softswitches and voice gateways.

Cogeco, which passes roughly 1.4 million homes, marks the latest Canadian MSO to move ahead with VoIP. Videotron launched the service earlier this year. Rogers Cable also plans to offer a "lifeline" IP telephony service.