RealTime IT News

Verizon Wants Motorola Gear

Verizon has tapped Motorola for video network infrastructure and customer premises equipment related to the carrier's fiber-to-the-premises push, the companies announced today.

The multi-year contract also includes project integration and operational services. Mark Marchand, a Verizon spokesman, said this is the carrier's first award for FTTP video infrastructure and customer premises equipment.

Though best known for wireless phones, Motorola has built video infrastructure for more than a decade. Its gear delivers more than 700,000 independent streams of digital video.

While Motorola is the only video equipment provider named so far, it's common practice at Verizon and other telecom carriers to have two suppliers, both for pricing leverage and quality comparisons.

Last week, Verizon announced the next six states in its aggressive FTTP rollout. The carrier will deploy the infrastructure -- which can deliver high-speed data, voice and video -- in communities in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

It's already offered to consumers and small and medium businesses in parts of California, Florida and Texas. The strategy targets cable providers such as Comcast Time Warner Cable, a unit of media conglomerate Time Warner .

FTTP uses hair-width, fiber-optic strands to carry content -- including video programming -- to residential and small business customers. The Baby Bells say the technology will enable them to offer a better bundle of television, broadband and phone service.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts addressed the threat on a quarterly conference call today. "A number of us have lived through this before," he said, referring to various threats to cable television's dominance over the years.

Even if Verizon and SBC hit ambitious deployment goals, they'll still be the fourth or fifth competitor in a market that also includes satellite television providers, Roberts said.

"Let's play it out," he continued, noting that any subscriber defections to FTTP would likely be spread among Comcast and other players.