Friday, April 9, 2004

Consumers eager for Internet phone service: "A new survey provides encouragement to the cable TV and telecommunications companies that are rushing to launch discount phone services using Internet technology. But it also shows what a difficult time traditional phone companies may have in trying to hang on to their customers in the face of new competition.

"One in three consumers would switch from their existing land-line phone service to Internet-based phone service for a discount of 20 percent or more, according to the Gallup Organization survey, which was commissioned by the investment firm UBS.

"Three of every four consumers don't much care whether they are getting a package of telephone, TV and Internet services from their local phone company or their cable company, according to the survey. 'Without a clear preference for cable- or carrier-provided voice service, both sides still need to win the hearts and minds of the customers, suggesting competition will be fierce and costly,' said UBS analyst Aryeh Bourkoff."

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