Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month's briefs focus on developments in IPTV, fiber, and the end of analog, in countries around the globe.
IP TV in Hong Kong
PCCW in Hong Kong has the world's largest IPTV deployment. A conversation with Belinda Chan, VP Operations & Technology, gave us a chance to catch up on how well the company is doing with their strategy for bundling and TV services. PCCW launched its 'now TV' service in September 2003, and as of December 2006 had over 700,000 subscribers (33% penetration of Hong Kong's 2.1 million households). Their success seems to be due to a variety of good practices including strong outbound telemarketing, successful upselling of existing broadband users, an 'a la carte' market entry strategy, and providing exclusive premium content. ( www.pccw.com )
Fiber For France
Free (Iliad Group), an IPTV and bundled services provider in France, announced its plan to roll out the first and largest optical fiber network in France, based on Cisco technology. Phase one will connect over 2 million people in Paris at speeds that could exceed 50 Mbps for €29.99 per month. ( www.free.fr ) ( www.cisco.com )
Meanwhile, France Telecom has accelerated plans for its FTTH broadband network. Their goal is to have 150,000 to 200,000 customers connected by the end of 2008 with first services anticipated in March in Paris. ( www.francetelecom.com )
Dutch Say Goodbye Analog TV
The Netherlands became the first country to end transmission of free-to-air analog TV on December 10/11, 2006. The switch was simplified by the fact that only about 75,000 households relied on over-the-air analog reception. Most Dutch households receive their TV services over cable, which is generally still analog. However those households with second TVs not connected to cable need a small decoder to receive digital terrestrial signals. The analog switch off means that digital terrestrial TV (DTT) has been extended to rural areas by using the analog spectrum that was cleared.
The cost of building the digital network was borne by KPN, which broadcasts three state-supported channels and several regional public broadcasters. KPN uses the remaining capacity of the digital network to carry a package of pay-TV channels. ( www.kpn.com )
German WiMAX Spectrum
Results are in from Germany on the December auction of frequencies in the 3.5 GHz band. Successful bidders with national coverage for broadband wireless were Clearwire, Inquam Broadband (a joint venture that includes Nextwave Wireless) and Deutsche Breitband Dienste GmbH. The auction offered 21 MHz for uplink and another 21 MHz for downlink. ( www.clearwire.com ) ( www.inquam-broadband.de ) ( www.nextwave.com ) ( www.dslonair.de )
Another Triple Play in UK
See, Speak, Surf is the new triple play package from Sky. It competes with offers from cable company NTL and incumbent telco BT. The package costs £26 a month plus £11 to BT for line rental. It provides 8Mbps of broadband internet, free evening and weekend UK phone calls, and a basic package of TV channels. Other combinations of services/speeds are available. ( www.sky.com )