Cablevision will fire a shot across Verizon’s bow today when it announces a $19.95/month intl telephony package that lets subs call anywhere in the world without per minute or connection charges. The MSO’s digital phone subs will be able to add "Optimum Voice World Call" to their $34.95/month residential VoIP service. For an extra $19.95, subs will get 500 mins of intl calling. Additional blocks of 500 mins can be purchased for $19.95 each. CVC’s move reminds us of the early headway DBS made against MSOs by offering a wider selection of intl channels. This low-cost intl plan could be a way for cable operators to make similar headway with telcos’ voice subs. Traditionally, telcos charge customers country-based per minute prices generally ranging from 10 cents to a dollar. Even bargain basement VoIP provider Skype charges different per-minute rates for intl calls. With 20%+ of its homes passed taking Optimum Voice, CVC’s VoIP is the industry’s most penetrated. It’ll be interesting to see if other MSOs follow Cablevision’s lead-as they did with the $99/month triple-play bundle. MSOs offering VoIP hype low international rates, but none have moved to this pricing model…yet.

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