Cox [COX] brass spent much of their Q&A period fielding questions about the MSO’s Roanoke, VA, VoIP launch last month. The launch required the addition of 4 CSRs and 4 field technicians in Roanoke vs the 30-50 people a circuit-switch launch would typically require. Execs were vague on how many additional Cox markets may see VoIP this year, but COO Pat Esser said there’s room in current ’04 guidance for 3-4 more launches. — As for Cox-ESPN, Robbins said"we continue to talk … when we have something to report, we’ll report it." Asked whether things were more amicable, "I didn’t roll any grenades down the aisle today so you can characterize that any way you want." — Nice to hear Robbins mention CableFAX’s CableWorld’s System of the Year honors for N VA in his opening remarks. — Charter [CHTR] biz dev honcho Tom Cullen turned down a gig with Gallo wines about 25 years ago in favor of a job in telecom. The screw-top vino world’s loss was Charter’s gain as Cullen has helped shape the MSO’s telephony plans. "Unless you’re an RBOC, it’s a really exciting time in the category," Cullen told the crow. CLEC certified in 9 states, with 10 additional pending and 5 more in the works through ’04, Charter will aggressively expand both its VoIP footprint and its market share, Cullen said, launching voice in at least 3 new systems this year.

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Early Signs Positive for Emergency Broadband Benefit Uptake

The FCC’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program kicked off with a bang Wednesday, and some 825 providers sat ready to answer consumer questions and get folks signed up for subsidies. Thus far, all has gone to plan and consumer interest is coming in either consistent with or in excess of providers’ early predictions.

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