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HD Communications – Cablevision fired the first business HD voice service shot in North America

Optimum Lightpath, Cablevision’s business arm, has announced what it terms the “first” high-definition voice service for mid-sized to large businesses, with service available in June 2009 in the New York metropolitan area.

The release touts using Optimum’s hosted VoIP service, shiny new Cisco IP phones, and the company’s fiber-optic network to deliver the best quality voice calls to and from anyone “within its business facilities.”  The service uses Cisco’s 7945 and 7965 IP phones and since those phones support the G.722 wideband codec, we have HD Communications.

Optimum is offering a turn-key end-to-end solution, probably the best way to roll out the service so it can assure QoS.  How many customers will bite on HD-quality for intra-facility calling will be interesting given Optimum’s footprint in the New York region.

From a historic perspective, Optimum/Cablevision has always been “pushing the envelope” when it has come to bringing in new technologies; the company was the first to roll out high speed 50 and 100 Mbps broadband service for businesses before DOCSIS 3.0 was formally locked down.

Interesting questions that come to mind are: 1) Will Optimum promote INTER-business HD calling among the customers who sign up for it? 2) Will this offering speed up the wheels at Verizon Business for a HD voice offering? (OK, probably not) 3) How will Optimum work on expanding/exchanging HD voice calling beyond its own footprint?

Given NYC’s business and international focus, if Optimum isn’t talking to France Telecom and BT about HD/G.722 interoperability now, it likely will be in the weeks to come. Optimum would be in the unique position to build the first HD “bridge” across the Atlantic between its HD island and those in operation/under construction in Europe.

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