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Tuesday, 11 October 2005 17:25

Carriers' IPTV plans hit hurdles

The optimism about IPTV evident at the IEC's Broadband World Forum (BBWF) Europe in 2005 has been tempered by a large dose of reality at this year's event, according to Ovum.

Reporting on the event Ovum analysts Charlie Davies and Michael Philpott said: "In 2004, the message from the BBWF was that IPTV and triple play were finally here, in 2005 the message is 'wow, this is going to much harder than we thought'." This is causing much uncertainty, especially from the larger incumbents that have yet to deploy, according to the Ovum analysts.

"Much of the discussion is still round the ethernet and IP backhaul, and views here differ wildly from just deploying huge dumb pipes, to using sophisticated IP technologies right down into the access network," they said.

"Much of the conference is still heavily dominated by technology, with little real innovation on the services or longer-term strategic business vision aspects. There was much talk about the integration of services and development of a-la-carte menus versus bundling of services, with the hope that the former will increase ARPU rather than decrease it."

They added that while some of the ideas and technology are compelling, such as caller ID and call control across all devices, "We are as yet unconvinced that this move would really halt the bundling train, especially in what are becoming increasingly competitive markets. Many of the ARPU figures mentioned also seemed far too optimistic."

The conference was held in Madrid last week and with over 6,000 attendees was twice the size of the 2004 event. According to Ovum's analysts "it is now seen as one of the most important events in the European broadband calendar."

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