After New Year's, get ready for an all-out VoIP push by cable

Look for widespread deployment of VoIP by cable operators in 2005. That's according to Standard & Poor'sEquity Analyst Tuna Amobi, who has come to that conclusion following meetings with several top cable execs earlier this week at the Credit Suisse First Boston Media and Telcom Week conference in New York.

Look for widespread deployment of VoIP by cable operators in 2005. That's according to Standard & Poor'sEquity Analyst Tuna Amobi, who has come to that conclusion following meetings with several top cable execs earlier this week at the Credit Suisse First Boston Media and Telcom Week conference in New York.

Amobi envisions lots of activity in the first half of next year, including aggressive campaigns in "pilot markets" to position VoIP as a primary line replacement for local-exchange phone service.

That would seem to fall in line with what Comcast CIO John Alchin told the same conference. He said that Comcast hopes to make VoIP available to as many as 50 percent of its customers by the end of 2005.

Writing in BusinessWeek Online, Amobi foresees a price range of $35 to $40 a month. He's done the requisite ROI math, and concludes that an 18 to 24 month payback is "plausible."

I note that price range is $10 to $15 higher than competing, pure-play IP telephony service providers.Given that cable isnot going to compete on price point, it is obvious to me that they will be doing some heavy cross-services promotion and price-packaging to their existing broadband servicessubscriber base.

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