RealTime IT News

Covad Adds New VoIP Markets

Covad has rolled out VoIP service for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in 14 new markets, including New Orleans, Orlando, Fla., and Salt Lake City.

The San Jose, Calif., company said its SMB VoIP service is now available in 71 markets, with plans to grow to 125 markets by year's end. Covad's vPBX product works with existing equipment. Covad installs the service, trains users and provides customer support.

The offering features a Web-based user interface that manages local and long-distance services, visual fax and voicemail, instant messaging, audio and Web conferencing, call logs, directory services and "Find me/Follow me" capabilities.

Pavel Radda, a Covad spokesman, said set-up costs vary depending on the size of the business. However, for a 40-person business, typical start-up costs are roughly $20,000, he said. The company offers free assessments of VoIP needs.

Covad offers two monthly plans. The first charges between $26 and $32 per station plus 3 cents to 5 cents per minute, based on the number of stations and minutes. The second is flat rate pricing of $36.95 to $59.95, depending on the number of stations with unlimited local and long-distance calls.

The other cities that are a part of Covad's latest business VoIP service expansion are: Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Burlington, N.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Greensboro, N.C.; Holland, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Ogden, Utah; Provo, Utah; and San Antonio, Texas.

Covad has offered VoIP since early this year. Its technology got a boost this spring when it acquired VoIP provider GoBeam for $48 million. Covad competes with a number of startups, telecoms and cable companies that are already offering VoIP or plan on launching the service in coming months.