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Subcribers to Cable-Based VoIP To Skyrocket To 19.8 Million By 2009: Report

The U.S. market for cable-based VoIP will skyrocket from 2.2 million subscribers in 2005, to 19.8 million by 2009, according to a new report from IDC. Despite that rapid growth, if cable companies want to compete against incumbent carriers, they must offer bundles that include voice, mobile voice, and multimedia capabilities, the report adds.

The report notes that the growth in cable VoIP represents a significant opportunity for softswitch providers. It cites Nortel, Siemens, and Cisco as market leaders, and adds that Cisco has become a major market force because of its acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta. Alcatel, it adds, is also becoming more important in the market.

IDC says that the evolving PacketCable architecture and standard is at the heart of cable company efforts to bring on new VoIP subscribers, but that the emergence of IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) presents problems for the cable companies. Potential problems between IMS and PacketCable include difficulties in meshing the standards to take advantage of the multimedia capabilities offered by SIP.

However, if the standards can be made to work together, it may open up new markets for hardware makers.

"Over the long term, if PacketCable successfully adopts IMS, this will open up the market to a broader range of softswitch and call session control function (CSCF) providers," Tom Valovic, program director of IDC's VoIP Infrastructure service, said in a statement.