In a first of its kind deal valued in excess of $400 million over 10 years, SBC Communications is to provide television services using the new Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform.
SBC Labs has been testing an IP-based television service built on the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition platform since June 2004. Now, SBC companies and Microsoft will begin field trials in mid 2005 with the aim to provide a commercial available IP-based television service in late 2005.
In the first quarter of 2005, construction is expected to begin on the SBC Project Lightspeed, the company’s initiative to deploy fibre closer to customer locations to provide IP-based services, including IP television, voice over IP (VoIP), and Internet access. Project Lightspeed is expected to reach 18 million US households by year end 2007.
The new service will take advantage of the SBC two-way broadband network to offer new, innovative services beyond today’s existing broadcast-oriented digital TV networks.
Additionally, by using IP technology to deliver video, voice, data and other advanced services and applications over a single network connection, the services may be accessed and shared via any number of IP-enabled household devices, such as TVs, set-top boxes, PCs, PDAs or phones.
The IP-based TV service is planned to include instant channel changing, customizable channel lineups, video on demand, digital video recording, multimedia interactive program guides, event notifications and content protection features.
To enable optimal use of bandwidth, SBC companies plan to use a switched video distribution system, which streams only the content the customer requests instead of broadcasting all channels to everybody at once. This frees up large amounts of bandwidth for other applications.