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UK ISP TalkTalk Preps Content Delivery Network for Broadband TV Service

Posted: 21st Oct, 2010 By: MarkJ
talktalk ukThe UK Internet and phone provider , TalkTalk , has teamed up with Alcatel-Lucent in a 3 year deal to build, install and manage a new broadband Content Delivery Network (CDN) to support the launch of its future TV ( IPTV ) service, which will use the YouView platform (Project Canvas).

Paul Larbey, Vice President and General Manager of Velocix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, said:

"We are witnessing an explosion in data traffic over both fixed and mobile networks which is set to continue. Our aim is to work with TalkTalk to develop an intelligent network architecture that can handle the extra demand efficiently while at the same time, creating the potential for new revenues by exposing the assets within the network in a secure way."

TalkTalk has had ambitions to launch a TV service for the past couple of years, although the HomeChoice IPTV platform that it inherited from the 2009 Tiscali UK acquisition was deemed insufficient for its needs. Instead the ISP became a partner in YouView.

YouView is a "[semi-open] technical standard" for bringing subscription free broadband ISP based internet TV services ( e.g. iPlayer , 4oD , ITV Player ) directly into homes via special £100-£200 Set-Top-Boxes (STBs).

A TalkTalk Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk in July 2010:

"People will be able to either buy a [YouView] set-top-box for a one-off fee from a high street retailer (just like with Freeview and Freesat) or potentially as part of a broadband package direct from any internet service provider that supports [YouView].

Viewers will need a TV set supporting a digital signal to access the free-to-air services and a broadband service from a supporting ISP, to access on demand content. The free-to-air and on demand content will be available subscription free, with the flexibility for viewers to get pay-TV content/channels if they also choose to.

Internet Service Providers will have the option to offer customers a [YouView] set-top-box with broadband access and depending on the value of the bundled service give customers the option of different pricing points for the set-top-box as long as the core [YouView] service remains subscription free."

However, up until recently any service development had been stalled by competition complaints from Virgin Media UK, IPVision and BSkyB ( Sky Broadband ). On Tuesday Ofcom, due to a lack of evidence, officially dropped calls for a competition investigation (here) and thus paved the way for TalkTalk to proceed with its plans.

The ISP has already made provisions for the development of such a service and does not expect to see its planned capital expenditure of £100m (2010 - 2011) rise. At present TalkTalk TV remains on track for a commercial launch in 2011, most likely in the late spring or summer.
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