Not sure if you saw the news on TMCnet yesterday or not, but Covad will begin trials in the next 30 days of line-powered voice access that would enable Covad strategic partners to offer local and long distance voice services to their customers.
The interesting part is that you simply hook to your phone jacks and it isn't VoIP until it gets to the central office. So if the power goes off, you still have voice - one of the knocks against the dominant broadband VoIP players. While you can do this with existing broadband VoIP providers simply by connecting an ATA's analog port to your house wiring (to power the lines), technically you're supposed to "cut" the outside PSTN wiring that goes to your phone company. Otherwise, you could be sending them voltage, or they could send voltage down to you when testing the line and fry your equipment.
With Covad's solution, you don't need to do that.
Basically, their next generation Nokia and Zhone DSLAMs and line cards enable line-powered voice access by taking the analog voice signal from a customer's basic telephone and converting it into digital form at the Covad central office where the DSLAM is located. The digital signal is then transported over Covad's nationwide facilities-based broadband network and connected to any telephone on a VoIP network or the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) managed by the local phone companies.
Also, worthy of note in this release: "Unlike DSL broadband service, line-powered voice access is not distance sensitive. That means Covad's nationwide network will, in the future, be able to serve 40 percent more customers with basic voice services in the current Covad footprint."
One bad thing about this solution is that users lose the ability to take VoIP with you. With CPE equipment (usually an ATA), you can take the ATA anywhere you go and receive phone calls. You can't do that with Covad's solution. Still, most people don't take their ATAs on the road with them anyway.