Tips from those who’ve deployed VoIP offered at Mon’s "Breakfast of VoIP Champs" at National: Avoid price wars with telcos, "we’d rather have a value war," Cameron Gough, vp, advanced voice at Comcast, says. "We want to put more M&Ms and chocolate chips into the cookie we offer." Differentiate yourself with deals like free voice mail or caller ID, or a bundled discount for TV/phone/data, advised Jose Algeria, Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico gm. You’re already providing data, so VoIP services should be a cinch—right? Nope. "You cannot downplay stability of network," Bill Dame, Cox’s dir of network switch engineering, says. "Plant has to be flawless or it will keep you up all hours of the night." Simple things like a dirty splitter or bad fiber splice will kill your QoS, and result in churn. That’s why Comcast is taking a slow, measured approach. "You don’t want to poison the well early on," Gough stresses. — All panelists agree ops can look to CableLabs for direction, but they need to hire telephony experts to build in-house VoIP brainpower. Lean on vendors, but be careful. "You get what you pay for, and some vendors are less than truthful," Dame warns. "Be skeptical and demand proof." – Laura Hamilton, Communications Technology

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