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.

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