Cablevision Turns Web Into Phone Book

Cablevision Systems is making placing phone calls as easy as clicking on a Web link.

The operator launched Optimum Voice Click-to-Call, which turns phone numbers on any Web page into clickable links for instant dialing. The service can be accessed with any Optimum ID associated with an active account, for no additional charge.

After customers initiate a phone call via their browser, their desired call-back number -- which can be any landline or mobile phone number in the U.S. -- will ring. To the call recipient, the call appears to be coming from the customer's Optimum Voice home number.

Cablevision customers also can use a Google Talk ID for both domestic and international calls using the Click-to-Call service. Using Google Talk, subs can call from overseas to anywhere in the U.S. for free or to any international destination using an Optimum Voice International calling plan. Cablevision integrated the service with Google Talk via an open interface published by Google.

Alcatel-Lucent provided the core network Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) application servers and application that Cablevision deployed as part of Optimum Voice Click-to-Call.

"Optimum Voice has always been more than a static ‘landline' phone service," Joseph Varello, Cablevision's vice president of digital voice product management, said in a statement. "Click-to-Call represents the ongoing evolution of our voice services outside the home, providing a seamless and simple way for our customers to connect with the people and places they want to reach with the click of the mouse."

The service requires users to download and install the Optimum Voice Plug-in for either Internet Explorer or Firefox, available through the Optimum Voice homepage. The Click-to-Call service is not compatible with Skype, and customers must disable Skype from their browser's toolbar to use it.

The Click-to-Call service is currently available to customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as the former Bresnan Communications systems that are now part of Cablevision.

More info on how Click-to-Call works is available here:

As of the end of June, Cablevision had 2.95 million voice lines in service, which includes both residential and business customers.