Can FiOS Leapfrog Cable – on Voice Service?

New digital voice offering represents true IP convergence for FiOS services, but it isn't IMS-based

June 3, 2010

2 Min Read
Can FiOS Leapfrog Cable – on Voice Service?

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has now caught up to its cable competitors -- on voice.With the new FiOS Digital Voice Service launched today, the telco giant has moved away from circuit-switched voice to VoIP. In the process, Verizon added features that cable has been offering for some time, such as Caller ID on the TV, but also introduced a number of things that Verizon believes goes beyond cable, such as the opportunity to pick your own area code for either your main line or a "virtual" phone line, and the ability to screen voicemail calls live to decide whether or not to answer. (See FiOS Finds Its Voice.)"We believe our feature set is a little more robust than what the MSOs have, and let's face it, they have been in the digital voice space for a while now," says John Broten, director of consumer VoIP product development for Verizon. "Our circuit-switched product was behind the times, but now we've moved ahead."Verizon has built its digital voice offering on BroadSoft Inc. 's application suite, and plans further integration and features now that its voice is IP-based, Broten says. But this is not an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) offering."It could be migrated onto IMS, as that matures," Broten says.Among the possibilities are other IP-enabled devices in the home that become access points for information or services, including FiOS digital voice, Broten says. That could include smartphone applications to let consumers see their home voicemail or calls, or new devices that could receive information but not require the consumer to log onto a computer."We could get to a place where other devices in the home are IP-connected, and it opens up the places where consumers can take advantage of information or services," Broten says.For now, FiOS Digital Voice features live voicemail screening, which lets consumers hear voicemail messages as they arrive and decide whether or not to pick up; call logs listing the caller name, number, and more info, along with easy transfer of incoming numbers into a personal address book; Caller ID on the TV and find-me, follow-me service, which lets consumers program up to three numbers at which they might be reached if not home.FiOS Digital Voice is not a line-powered service -- nor was the existing FiOS voice service -- but consumers are alerted in advance that if power goes out, the phone service lasts only as long as the battery, which is stored in the Network Interface Device on the side of their home, holds out, Broten says.— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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