Telstra Exits Microsoft IPTV Trials

Australia’s largest telecom is leaving Microsoft’s
Internet Protocol television (IPTV) early-adopter program. Telstra was
lab-testing the technology, but won’t move to broader residential trials.

The decision revolved around a lack of bandwidth in the carrier’s network,
not problems with Microsoft’s platform, Ed Graczyk, director of marketing
for Microsoft’s TV unit, told

“They decided that for their particular situation it didn’t make sense to
continue with the program,” he said. A Telstra spokesman could not be
reached for comment.

About a dozen large telecoms in North America, Western Europe and
Asia-Pacific are participating in the trials, which advance from lab, to a
limited number of homes, and finally to 1,000 homes.

Throughout the stages, Microsoft, the telecoms and other partners, such as
set-top box makers, work at integrating front and back-end systems.

Microsoft’s Graczyk refuted media reports
that said Swisscom has delayed its IPTV rollout. The carrier is still deploying
the technology at year’s end, although in fewer homes because of a shortage
of set-top boxes, he said.

In the United States, Microsoft’s high-profile IPTV relationship with
SBC Communications remains on track, said Wes Warnock, an SBC spokesman.

“Our goal is to deploy IP-based services to the mass market as soon as the technology and the services are stable and ready to scale in the market,”
Warnock said. “We are proceeding with an initial controlled market entry at the end of this year, beginning of next — and scaling in 2006.”

In November, SBC announced a 10-year, $400 million deal to use Microsoft’s IPTV software.

It’s a crucial piece of the regional telecom’s multi-billion-dollar plan to use fiber-optic cable to deliver a “triple-play” bundle of television, phone and high-speed Internet services to consumers.

The IP TV service will include customizable channel lineups,
video-on-demand, digital video recording, interactive program guides, event
notifications and content protection features. Microsoft will also resell the IPTV platform through Alcatel .

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