O2 to join IPTV fray next year
'I want a piece of that non-action!'
O2 says its IPTV efforts have been such a roaring success in the Czech Republic that it'll roll out a similar offering in the UK 2008.
The bubbly comms outfit, which has entered the UK broadband market this year, has attracted 70,000 Czech telly subscribers since September 2006, which isn't bad considering a population of just 10 million and broadband penetration of about 12 per cent. In the UK it's more like 24 per cent.
A large part of the Czech success may have be that O2 holds the rights to broadcast ice hockey games.
In the UK O2 provides broadband over the Be ADSL2+ network. The firm says it'll start trials of a similar TV service here next year, despite indications that IPTV is struggling. Tiscali's service has lost subscribers and BT Vision has failed to meet its customer targets. Both are convinced it'll all be fine though.
Many analysts remain assured that IPTV is a requirement for broadband providers to retain customers and avoid commoditisation. Here's what Ovum's John Deleaney had to say today: "In the medium/long term, all broadband access providers need plans to stave off commoditisation, and TV has an important role to play in those plans."
The thing is, once they've all got similar services, all offering similar content, (same PVR, same Setanta football, same HBO series, same after-Sky movies) we'll be back where we started - giant companies competing fiercely for the same small pool of switchers, each squeezing their customer service budget for existing customers. And a creaky old infrastructure that's asked to deliver ever-more data without significant upgrades in the last mile. Plus ça change.
In other IPTV damp squibbery, the reporting SWAT team at the Telegraph multimedia hub has deigned to notice that Orange won't be launching its IPTV service anytime soon. But you've known that for weeks. ®
Re: Anonymous Coward
Sure, that argument holds when you have one choice of supplier for data transit (like any ISP that operates over BT lines), especially when (like BT do) they charge an obscene amount for bandwidth.
ISPs like Plus.net are required to pay an order of magnitude higher costs for the bandwidth used by their customers, where as Be have their own 'nationwide' (London, Cardiff, Birmingham..) network, connecting up the various MANs, which have multiple gigabit connections. All their traffic then peers through LINX, typically through Deutsche Telecom or Level 3.
All of which is a HELL of a lot cheaper than paying BT £3/GB. If your bandwidth doesn't cost much, you don't really mind how much of it your customers use. Bulldog managed to provide this sort of service for a long while, until Cable & Wireless got bored of running a consumer ISP,
A nice 'killer app' would be IPTV providing various sky channels - sky sports without any sky bumpf, or without the ridiculously expensive and difficult to provide Sky HD (try getting Sky HD in a flat prewired for Sky SD)
@alex re Be
Be are in early days, still in customer acquisition mode. They have a few tens of thousands of customers total across the limited number of exchanges where they operate. The current result of this is (I guess) that they aren't running their (expensive) backhaul to their core network at anywhere near capacity. If they ever get lots more customers they'll have two options. They'll either have to install lots more bandwidth to their exchanges to maintain current "unlimited" behaviour. That'll cost lots of $$$, which may or may not be matched by the $$$ from extra punters - usually not. Or they'll have to manage usage so it fits sensibly in existing installed bandwidth. The same rules of arithmetic and economics apply to Be as applies to every other ISP in the UK, and no "consumer" ISP offers a sustainable "unlimited" and un-traffic-managed package at an affordable price.
So download the Internet while stocks last. If you find anything worth keeping, can I have a copy if I send you a USB stick?
Where's the other Alex these days, the "IPtv expert" who used to do regular IPtv columns on ElReg?