Net (ex-Globo Cabo) has been testing voice-over-IP technology (VoIP) for two months now. Trials are being held in ten cities where the operator offers Vírtua, its broadband service via cable modem, and where the network is two-way. Technology Director Rômulo Cioffi says the results are surprisingly good. ?I?ve always heard people say the quality of VoIP is bad, with echoes and delays, but our trials haven?t shown that so far. On the contrary, our transmission quality is perfect,? he says. According to Mr Cioffi, Net is the first cable company in Brazil to hold VoIP trials. ?Everyone has announced the service, but when I first contacted the cable modem suppliers while preparing our trials, they said they?d have to import the equipment because we were the first to make good on our promise.? The technology is mature, he believes, and could go live commercially within a year if market conditions are right. ?The incumbent telcos aren?t interested in seeing VoIP made widely available,? he argues. ?It makes voice calls much cheaper and would stimulate the entry of new players.? Without offering details, he says within a few months Net will complete tests of value-added services such as call waiting and call identification. The next step will be to pursue partnerships. ?We might partner with a telco or with an investor,? he says.
TVA?s interest in VoIP
?We?ve been watching the evolution of VoIP with interest for a long time,? says Amilton Lucca, TVA?s director of Internet and telecoms business. TVA is currently talking to Telefonica about the possibility of an agreement. ?We?re trying to work out a business model that would benefit both parties,? he says, without providing details. VoIP would be worthwhile for a new entrant without its own large-scale copper network, he notes. TVA operates cable and MMDS, and recently applied to Anatel for a license to offer local and long-distance telephone services.