VoIPWatch Report #5 for Week of October 11 2009
Is Skype Buying Gizmo? Makes Sense to Me

Comcast Looks To The Future With HomePoint VoIP

In a move that Fierce VoIP is calling a limited release by Comcast, the nations largest cable operator, of HomePoint, a converged VoIP/Router, it would appear that finally, after making all the needed in network (e.g. getting all the hardware and software to be the same in all markets) infrastructure work completed, Big C is ready to sell VoIP.

You may ask as Fierce did, "why?"

That's simple. WiMax and LTE. Both are SIP at their voice core and even really IMS for LTE. IMS is SIP for voice for the most part so as Comcast rolls out Mobile WiMax they can more easily offer a truly converged service, and one that offers the kind of features we see from Google with Google Voice.

Since Comcast and Google are both investors in Clearwire, and since Android is already becoming more than a mobile-GSM handset, you can start to see long term roadmaps coming together where Comcast in many parts of the country becomes a single source provider vs. AT&T and Verizon.

In many ways, if you look at the map, Comcast is the Bell System recast, albeit with a more technology/IP orientation, while AT&T has chosen to be still in the analog world more than in the IP world with a converged play.

That will change by 2011 when the new Ma Bell/AT&T rolls out their concept of ONE Network. Then the battle will begin and AT&T will start to regret ever selling Comcast their cable TV networks.

This particular trial, is very typical in the cable industry. Pick a market as a control site and then add a few more. Gain feedback and then push it out across the country. It's smart and a good way to roll out a product that works from the time it's installed. In many ways this is the market AT&T would have owned had they continued marketing CallVantage. Oh, well.


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I talked with Comcast today; this is beyond a "limited" release. Comcast has just relatively quiet (don't want to scare Verizon or AT&T into anything rash, eh? :)

1) Comcast "slow rolled" HomePoint in Florida and started advertising the service today (Monday, October 12) in Denver. The service has also been quietly rolled out in other markets, so Comcast customers will likely hear more shortly.

2) HomePoint uses Casabi and SIP to deliver the bells and whistles of news-on-your-phone, email, and other stuff; SMS to the handset is on the to-do rollout...Casabi uses a light-client/heavy server model, so you get a mini-web client on the phone..

3) The handset supports DECT 6.0, but no word yet if it supports CAT-iq and/or G.722 -- the precursors for HD Voice; I'm waiting for Comcast to get back to me.

4) AT&T has experimented with Casabi-based services (i.e. light client SIP to the phone to deliver data) before, but it's AT&T and ... well, I'm not going there at the moment...

- Doug Mohney (www.hdconnectnow.org)

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