SES Americom, Cisco Take IPTV Rural

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Satellite-services provider SES Americom and Cisco Systems want to bring IPTV to America’s hinterlands.

The two companies are pairing up to offer rural telephone companies what they claimed is a soup-to-nuts package of IPTV content, equipment and services. The idea is to ease what has been the biggest pain for telcos trying to bake a TV service from scratch: getting everything to work together without a hitch.

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to deliver an end-to-end solution so that our customers aren’t focused on the piece parts,” SES Americom senior vice president of marketing and product management Jon Russo said.

The turnkey offering includes up to 290 linear channels provided via SES Americom’s IP-Prime service; Cisco’s network-infrastructure equipment and set-top boxes from its Scientific Atlanta unit; and an array of third-party IPTV middleware, conditional access and other technologies. Both companies, along with their partners, will provide systems-integration services to tie it all together.

Russo said customers can pick any IPTV middleware that suits them, including Microsoft’s IPTV Edition software. “The middleware is one of 10 ingredients that go into the mix,” he added.

SES Americom also announced that it is working to integrate Siemens’ Myrio and NDS Group’s Synamedia Metro IPTV middleware platforms with IP-Prime. SA’s lineup of IPTV set-top boxes includes standard-definition and HD models, as well as digital-video-recorder and gateway products.

SES Americom also announced a deal to provide IPTV set-tops from Amino Communications with IP-Prime.

SES Americom is selling IP-Prime through the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, which represents 1,300 U.S. phone companies that have fewer than 100,000 customers.

So far, SES Americom’s highest-profile customer for IP-Prime has been BellSouth, which had been testing out the service in trials since November 2005. With AT&T’s acquisition of BellSouth, completed late last year, the status of that project is unclear, as analysts assumed that AT&T would deploy its own IPTV infrastructure in BellSouth’s territory.

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