is testing residential Voice over IP
service in four cities in preparation for a full rollout in early 2005, the
regional telecom carrier said today.
The offering, which includes voice calling, a Web-based portal and call
management features, is being used by several hundred SBC DSL customers in
Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Antonio, spokeswoman Sue McCain told
Pricing for the yet-to-be-named service has not yet been set, but the
monthly fees will be competitive with offerings currently on the market,
The product is being provided through an undisclosed vendor and will be
available next year in the 13 states (mostly in the Midwest and West) that SBC serves.
SBC’s VoIP DSL push parallels its fiber rollout.
SBC’s goal is to make the fiber network available to 18
million households by the end of 2007.
Bringing fiber closer to homes will help SBC compete against cable companies
by providing enough bandwidth to deliver a bundle of advanced services,
“You will see a different VoIP product [for fiber customers],” McCain said.
“You’ll see more enhanced features. It’ll be the next phase.”
Where the DSL service was developed by an outside vendor, the
fiber-delivered version is likely to be home grown, McCain said.
By offering VoIP via DSL now, SBC hopes to prevent customers from jumping to
other providers that are offering the service, including cable companies
(Time-Warner), other telecoms (AT&T) and startups (Vonage).
When fiber begins appearing throughout SBC’s footprint, the Baby Bell will
make an effort to switch current DSL customers to fiber.