calls out Qwest
Digital Voice offers unlimited local and long-distance
service on managed lines. Comcast hopes to lure the Denver
By Kimberly S. Johnson, Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Comcast rolls out its Digital Voice phone service today in
the Denver metro area, stepping up the competition against
Qwest on its home turf.
Residents in 47 cities and towns, from Boulder to Larkspur,
will be able to receive the new service, which uses Voice
over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
Stand-alone local and long-distance service will cost $54.95
a month for unlimited calling. If Comcast customers combine
the phone service with high-speed Internet and cable
television, the total cost is $125.39 a month.
Comcast is the nation's largest cable-TV provider, with 21.4
million subscribers. More than 700,000 of those customers
are in Colorado. The cable company has offered a
traditional switched-circuit phone product in the Denver
area, but it doesn't have the growth potential of Digital
The move is a challenge to Qwest, the dominant local-phone
provider in Colorado and 13 other Midwestern and Western
states. Cable company Cox Communications has mounted an
aggressive campaign to take phone customers from Qwest in
Omaha and Phoenix using Internet-type phone service. In
Omaha, Qwest no longer provides service to a majority of
"Cox did a good job in Omaha," Qwest chief executive Richard
Notebaert said in an interview with The Denver Post last
week. "But it was our fault."
He said Qwest has a different strategy for keeping customers
in Phoenix and that it has forced Cox to change its
While it remains to be seen how Qwest will compete in the
Denver area, it certainly can fight the battle on the price
Qwest's stand-alone Internet phone service is $29.99 a
month. It also offers bundles of service that include
high-speed Internet, television and cellphone service. A
package of those three, plus a land line, costs $119.96 a
Qwest began offering VoIP service to residents in the Denver
metro area in May. The company's traditional land-line
phone service with unlimited local and long-distance calling
starts at $44.99.
"We have the experience. We have the reliable network ...
and we can deliver additional service, functionality and
reliability," said Qwest spokeswoman Carey Madsen.
Comcast is launching a marketing campaign to inform
residents of the Digital Voice service. The company is
offering a six-month promotional price of $69.95 a month for
Digital Voice, high-speed Internet and standard cable.
Standard cable offers about 80 channels. Installation fees
will be reduced from $99 to $49.
Comcast says its calls are not routed over the public
Internet, but travel over Comcast's managed high-speed
network. That means it can provide 911 services like
traditional land-line phone systems.
"Our privately managed network serves as a strong foundation
for today's voice, television and high-speed Internet
products," said Scott Binder, senior vice president for
Comcast began rolling out its Digital Voice product last
year in other markets such as Philadelphia, Indianapolis,
Baltimore and Boston, and it plans to be in 20 major markets
by the end of 2005.
Vonage is the largest VoIP provider in the nation, with more
than 1 million active lines. Vonage's unlimited monthly
residential service costs $24.99.
Staff writer Kimberly
Johnson can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-820-1088.