I’m frankly a little surprised it took this long, but the Edmonton Sun reports that Shaw Cablesystems has finally expanded its cable offering to include telephone service — in Edmonton only. Their serivce uses a technology called VOIP which, if you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re going to hear a lot about as time goes on.
VOIP uses the internet to bypass the traditional phone network within subscribers allowing Shaw to cut out phone companies, like Telus; of course, the Shaw phone service does allow subscribers to phone people using traditional phone networks. Companies like Vonage Canada already provide similar services in major centres in Canada, but Shaw is demonstrating a huge shift from being a traditional cable/internet provider to a communications service provider.
Watch for Telus to eventually offer TV through its high-speed internet connections to compete with cable companies. I’m aware Telus has been running some limited trials, but has yet to offer it as a mainstream service.
The only thing that I don’t get is why Shaw is charging $55 per month for the new phone service. Vonage’s basic plan is $20, and includes an incredible amount of services. Vonage requires you to already have a high-speed connection, but the article does not specify whether Shaw’s $55 price includes high-speed internet access (currently priced at $40). If you know why Shaw is priced so high please leave a comment.