SBC, Microsoft Team Up on IPTV

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SBC Communications Inc. will provide next-generation television services using Microsoft Corp.’s new “Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television Edition” software platform, the two companies said Wednesday.

The 10-year deal is valued at more than $400 million.

SBC said its SBC Labs has been testing an IP-based TV service built on the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition platform since June.

The regional Bell operating company added that its divisions and Microsoft will begin field trials in mid-2005 with an eye toward commercial availability in late 2005.

Construction work on SBC’s “Project Lightspeed” -- over which the IPTV service will run -- is set to begin during the first quarter of 2005.

The basic fiber-to-the-node technology will enable SBC to deliver 20 megabits per second-25 mbps of bandwidth per home, which will allow the company to deliver four channels of switched video to four different TVs in the home, video-on-demand, digital-video recorders, interactivity, 6-mbps high-speed-data service and telephone service.

"Project Lightspeed and the Microsoft and SBC relationship underscore what the future holds for consumers: a virtually unlimited opportunity for innovative, cross-device services and entertainment experiences enabled by the marriage of powerful broadband networks with the magic of software," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a prepared statement.

"The selection of Microsoft TV as the IPTV-services-platform provider for SBC recognizes Microsoft's leadership position in the rapidly emerging IPTV industry and the benefits it will bring to customers,” he added.

SBC chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. added, “Our service will change the way people experience TV. Finally, customers will watch what they want, when they want, from a virtually unlimited and interactive content selection. We will deliver integrated communications and entertainment services to enhance the digital lifestyle of our customers.”

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