Friday, June 02, 2006

If IOCs can IPTV, How come AT&T Can't?

Cable news asks why Surewest, Cav-Tel, and IOCs can IPTV already, but not at&t with MS. "In one of the biggest, most prominent examples of IPTV deployments domestically, SureWest became the first company to launch high-definition TV (HDTV) over IP service in the Sacramento, Calif. area late last year. SureWest, which now has nearly 90,000 homes linked to its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, began rolling out the HD-over-IP service in December with at least 17 high-def channels. .... Furthermore, the telcos must sign costly licensing deals with TV programmers, gain regulatory approval to offer video in their local areas and enter an unfamiliar video market already dominated by powerful cable and satellite TV operators. They also must have enough capital to market their new products heavily and fight pricing wars. Nevertheless, the independent phone companies are increasingly embracing the IPTV model. In the past few months, for instance, such smaller telcos as CP-Tel in northern Louisiana, Ringgold Telephony Co. in Georgia and Falcon Communications in Malden, Missouri have all swung deals for IPTV conditional access software from Latens Systems, a Northern Ireland technology provider, as they prepare to launch service. The moves come as AT&T, the most aggressive Baby Bell in the IPTV space, finally shows signs of rolling out its long-awaited U-verse TV service commercially. AT&T, which has been experimenting with a trial version of the service in San Antonio since December, began marketing the service publicly in its home market early last month. Plans call for the company to launch U-verse in Houston and up to 19 other markets over the second half."

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