Liberty Adds VoIP to Mix in Puerto Rico

Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico Inc. is rolling out residential voice-over-Internet protocol telephony service from Net2Phone Inc. to its entire 120,000-subscriber base, marketing the service under the “Liberty VoiceLinks” moniker.

“We are thrilled to give our customers a true, affordable choice for all forms of communication — voice, video and Internet access in one bundled package,” Liberty Cablevision general manager Jose Alegria said. “With the rollout of VoiceLinks, customers who sign up for our complete bundled package can save more than $60 a month on their combined voice, video and data services.”

Added Net2Phone president Mike Pastor: “Liberty Cablevision is the model for mid-sized cable operators and shows how they can do it quickly and efficiently, and get it right the first time. This is a primary-line replacement alternative telephone service.”

Liberty Cablevision launched VoIP using the PacketCable DOCSIS 1.1 platform.

Alegria said the MSO uses Motorola Inc.’s 4200 embedded multimedia terminal modems and its cable-modem termination system. Cedar Point Communications Inc. supplies the core softswitch and media gateway.

Liberty has several interconnection agreements, including one with a local competitive local exchange company, plus redundant and international service through Sprint Corp. and IDT Corp., Alegria said last week.

Net2Phone also installed a Neura Communications Inc. gateway that handles calls to the continental U.S, Pastor said. IP Unity Corp. installed an announcement server and Net2Phone handles the record keeping, Pastor said. Its relationship with Liberty is a traditional hosted service arrangement, he said.

Liberty Cablevision is offering subscribers five calling plans choices. Packages start at $24.95 per month, which includes local calling, 911 service, 16 premium features and calls to the continental U.S. at 9.9 cents per minute.

The $29.99 a month plan provides long-distance minutes to the U.S. for 7.9 cents per minute, plus voice mail. The $39.99-per-month service includes 200 minutes of intra-island long distance, plus the above features. A $49.99 a month service includes 2,000 intra-island minutes of long distance.

Alegria said the incumbent, Verizon Communications Inc.-controlled Puerto Rico Telephone Co., prices its phone service at $47.90 per month, making Liberty close to 50% cheaper for basic phone service, plus 20% to 80% less expensive for long distance.

What’s more, there is huge cost savings for triple-play subscribers, he said.

“Customers can save up to $60 by choosing our three services,” he said, compared to comparable direct-broadcast satellite and phone service. The bundle should help Liberty drive phone penetration, he said with “15% to 20% penetration easily achievable.”

What’s more, refined marketing techniques in the 1,100-subscriber test bed brought churn down to 1% a month, Alegria said.

Under the terms of the six-year deal, Liberty said it maintains ownership of the customer, service brand and Tier 1 customer and technical support.

Net2Phone supports the back-office platform, switching and transport, as well as ongoing operations and technical support at Tier 2 or higher.

Net2Phone also monitors the voice quality and network performance metrics for Liberty.

Net2Phone offers PacketCable, session initiation protocol (SIP) and wireless VoIP solutions. It serves 100,000 U.S. users and hundreds of thousands of overseas customers.

U.S. affiliates include Bresnan Communications, Cebridge Communications and Northland Communications.