Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

Posts Tagged ‘Comcast

Someone stumbled across Comcast’s quiet rollout of “HomePoint” service in Florida at the end of last week, but the cable company is making up for a soft rollout with a launch of a marketing campaign in Denver today (Monday, October 12).  Comcast plans to roll out the service to other markets in the months to come.

Most wonks looking at this seem to be going ga-ga at the simple expedient of deploying a combination of router and cable modem — can we say “yawn” here? — and missing the point that the HomePoint phone runs DECT 6.0 and has the Casabi service embedded in it.

Casabi is a client/server technology that puts a SIP client with a “lite” web browser directly on the phone so you can do very simple things like download ticker updates on things like news, sports, and the weather straight to the phone, as well as read email and do other interesting tricks.

A Comcast spokesperson said HomePoint would support SMS text messaging down the road, so a home user could get texted; the feature isn’t currently available.

Interestingly, Thomson previously said it was planning to roll out “Advanced Cable Gateway” to Comcast in the third quarter of this year.

Does this gear support HD Voice? Welll, the ACG supports DECT 6.0, but there’s no explicit naming of CAT-iq. Nor is there any reference to G.722 codec support.  At this point, it is not clear if HD voice will be embedded in the second generation of ACGs Thomson is working on and/or if HD voice will be available through existing hardware as a firmware upgrade to the ACG and handsets.   Comcast is being nice enough to look into some HD-specific questions I lobbed onto them today, so stay tuned.

Comcast has announced the launch of 100 Mbps high-speed Internet services for businesses in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  The asymmetric service (100 Mbps down/15 Mbps up) also includes a bundle of business applications including Microsoft Communication Service, anti-virus software.  And it’s all available at $370 per month..

The speed is made possible by Comcast’s rollout of DOCSIS 3.0 service while the Microsoft Communications Services bundle includes Windows SharePoint and Microsoft Outlook using Microsoft Exchange Server.  Anti-virus software is McAfee’s and covers up to 25 PCs.

Can’t wait to see this service turn up in Philly and watch the sparks fly between Comcast and Verizon :).  Also be interesting to see when Comcast tosses a hosted VoIP bundle (preferably HD) into the mix to really make things interesting for telcos.

Clone-Wars DIGEX colleague John Todd had some issues with his Comcast service a couple of days ago and posted his difficulties on social media (Facebook, Twitter).

Within a few hours, Comcast’s “hit squad” was following up on John’s post, and Tweeting back to me on a comment I made to John about the existence of the organization.  Comcast has a dedicated group of peeps skimming through social media to follow up on publicized customer problems.

Given my own recent dark experiences with Verizon, I can only point to Comcast’s efforts as the latest of a number of data points demonstrating that cable companies “get it” when it comes to customer service, and the traditional telephone companies have “lost it.”

Unfortunately, the “traditional” telecom media is out to lunch on this issue.  Nobody (yes, you Wall Street analysts believing what you are told) has factored this into the losses of landlines — it’s easier to blame losses to tighter home budgets, wireless, and millennials than own up to a steady decline in the values and quality for customer service and repair in the landline biz.

Comcast has announced a free mobile app for the iPhone to allow its customers access to all of the company’s “favorite” services, including  a unified email inbox, visual voice mail, address book sync, TV listings, and trailers.   One could almost image a Comcast product manager opening up his window and yelling “Can you hear me now, Verizon?”

More seriously, Comcast has bypassed normal politics by working with the iPhone/iPod touch — an AT&T-exclusive device — to provide a unified user interface, so a triple play customer can check email and even listen to voice mail in one combined in-box, manage voice mail and call logs,  and get calls forwarded from a Comcast home phone to an iPhone and manage all those home phone details.

Universal address sync is cool, but you’d expect that sort of functionality from anyone who bought Plaxo. 🙂

For video junkies, the “what’s on TV” feature and the movie trailers are a nice little touch, and will keep someone who has 2 minutes of idle time on their hands entertained.

Perhaps the more interesting question is if/when Comcast rolls out other versions of this client to other platforms. An Android port shouldn’t be too touch, but are there enough ‘droid users to justify the work and support?

Deja cheap minutes! Comcast has jumped onto the how-low-can-you-go bandwagon, announcing a bundle of 300 anytime international minutes for a flat fee of $15 (well, $14.95 per month.  This fits in with the preaching I did late yesterday about vanilla voice minutes and this morning’s manifesto about the third wave of voice communications being HD.

Comcast says the WorldWide plan for its digital voice service could save consumers 20 to 30 percent when compared to traditional phone service plans, and encompasses–

  • 41 countries in Europe
  • 26 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America
  • 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific
  • 8 countries in the Middle East
  • 5 countries in Africa

You can find a complete list of all the countries included over at www.comcast.com/internationalcalling

My quickie math works out to a price of 6.7 cents per minute; overages will be billed at “standard international rates,” whatever that translates to.  Six hours of calling around the globe will be attractive to a lot of people, and a headache to some.

One of my buddies from way-back was bemoaning the fact his mother-in-law had discovered VoIP service, so she’d call at 2:30 AM (local Eastern Time), talk for an hour at a time.  Last I heard, he was looking for was to selective degrade his broadband connection when she called to wrap up the conversation faster.