Verizon announced Thursday a new voice over IP service called FiOS Digital Voice for their all-fiber-optic network, FiOS. With its "brilliantly clear sound quality," FiOS includes 21 new features that make use of the media packag
e that the service comes with, which includes landline phone service, subscription television and broadband Internet. These features include "live voice-mail screening, an advanced online call manager and Caller ID on TV," many of which are not available for their traditional voice service.
Verizon hopes to up competition to other media providers such as AT&T and Comcast. "FiOS Digital Voice sets the standard in the same way that FiOS TV and Internet have, by offering features that others only hope to offer," said Eric J. Bruno, vice president for Verizon consumer product management and development in the press release. "Subscribers get more free calling features than cable, delivered with the trusted reliability of our advanced all-fiber network, and they get it all from a company with long-standing expertise in delivering superior phone service."
Some of the special features are accessed by an online account management tool through a broadband-connected computer. Live Voice Mail Screening, which is not available on cable services, synthesizes old-fashioned answering machine functionality, enabling a user to hear a voice mail message as it is being recorded and answer the call mid-message. Caller ID on TV displays incoming caller data in the corner of the TV screen. Locate Me rings up to three pre-determined numbers in succession, similar to Google's phone service, and if unanswered finally goes to voice mail.
While optimized to set themselves apart from cable and other broadband service competitors, Verizon may find themselves revitalizing the land line industry in some small way. But the decimation of home phone subscriptions may be a short-term trend or a permanent telcom evolution. FiOS Digital Voice is only available where the FiOS network is available in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania and California.