A few days ago I had written this post about why Baby Bells are thrilled with the Vonage ruling. And now you can see why. SBC Communications has announced launch of its residential VoIP service. While the service is in trials right now in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and San Antonio, the full-scale VoIP service rollout will take place in early 2005. “Over time, we expect that VoIP will be a preferred voice service because of the features and benefits this technology enables,” said Randall Stephenson, SBC chief operating officer in a press releases.
SBC head honchos are grinning and pointing out that its all about FCC’s decision to maintain a federal control over VoIP. “The FCC is moving to create an environment that promotes investment and innovation in IP services,” Stephenson said. “It is important that federal, state and local authorities keep the road clear so that this technology can reach consumers faster. The fact that we are accelerating our investment to bring new technologies to the market more quickly shows how good policies can deliver good results to consumers.”
Now this is going to be bad news for start-up providers in the space. Andy thinks that SBC’s service is going to be bundled with SBC DSL and will have limited functionality when compared to true blue VoIP players. Well, good or not, it will be a service that will be available to millions of DSL customers, perhaps as a add-on or even as a lure to sign-up for more DSL. Over time, I know from personal experience and having watched them long enough, Baby Bells normally win. They did in DSL and there is no reason, why they won’t this time around.