Alcatel-Lucent is rolling out a compact-IPTV platform aimed at Tier 2 and Tier 3 telcos that's powered by Microsoft's Mediaroom, can scale from 1,000 to more than 100,000 set-top-boxes, reduces the numbers of servers needed to a single rack, uses HP Virtual Connect technology to reduce the complexity of the architecture and nearly eliminates cabling.
The turnkey, mini-IPTV product is designed to cost-effectively provide high-quality television programming, and also enables new consumer media services through the blending and personalization of web and broadcasting content. Alca-Lu says the platform is the only one that includes Microsoft Mediaroom that can support more than three times as many households using a single equipment rack.
"We were seeing a lot of opportunity in that market globally, given that the larger operators had taken a position on IPTV and the Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators were finding the business case challenging," said Alcatel-Lucent's VP for multimedia integration Geeta Chaudhary. "In North America, the broadband stimulus package has created a lot of opportunity with networks infrastructure being upgraded to be able to support video." The company sees a market, in the next two years, of up to 11 million subscribers in North America.
Alcatel-Lucent's Integrated Solution for Microsoft Mediaroom, actually is a substantially modified version of an existing platform the company has deployed in more than 25 large networks globally.
Earlier, said Chaudhary, the smallest deployment available was around 200,000-300,000 STBs with about 150-200 servers. The new offering, in the bottom line, means less racking, stacking and cabling, and a reduced deployment time.
"It's pre-integrated so the time to market is fast, less than 90 days, compared to a six- to nine-month timeframe in the past," Chaudhary said. "And it's green, there's significantly less power consumption."
Chaudhary said telcos looking for an offering to as few as 5,000 subscribers should find the new platform affordable.
The solution, said Yankee Group analysts Vince Vittore, fit the needs of smaller telcos to offer a product that can compete with cable and satellite at a reasonable price point.
Alca-Lu said Cinergy MetroNet is its first customer to roll out the new platform, with a July 26 launch date in six Indiana cities reaching about 50,000 potential households.
"We want to provide our customers superior service and access to such capabilities as WholeHome DVR, interactive applications and over-the-top content," said John Cinelli, CEO of Cinergy MetroNet. "Alcatel-Lucent's IPTV solution fits our business needs and gives us a powerful, flexible, and differentiating tool to deliver IPTV-based services to our customers."
Chaudhary said Alcatel-Lucent expects to see 20-30 deployment of the essentially vendor-agnostic play in the first year. "We're pretty bullish on this one," she said. "It's getting to a scale that can be managed by developers, the hospitaity industry, and most of the independent telcos. The broadband stimulus package is key to us for this solution, as companies look for operations to launch on top of this network to monetize it."
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