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MSO Targets Telco International Cash Cow

New York Times reports that Cablevision will announce a flat-rate plan for international calls, the latest example of how digital and Internet-based phone services from cable companies and start-ups like Vonage are challenging traditional phone carriers.

Customers will be able to buy 500 minutes of calls to any country overseas for $19.95 a month. At 4 cents a minute, the service plan would cost far less than calls to most countries outside major cities in Western Europe and Asia.

While many companies connect calls to places like London and Tokyo for as little as 3 cents a minute, calls to some countries in Asia and Africa can cost more than a dollar a minute. Cablevision's new service includes taxes and fees and must be ordered in addition to the company's standard unlimited local and long-distance calling plan, which costs $34.95 a month.

Customers can buy additional time in 500-minute installments if they exceed their allotment before the billing period ends.

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