Avail ready to exploit tier 2 IPTV uptake

North Virginia based Avail Media has secured $25 million in B round venture capital as it seeks to exploit the rush in demand for programming from tier two and three US telcos.

Avail was started by ex-Intelsat executives who saw the opportunity to deliver programming to the newly emerging IPTV carriers, most of which have had no experience with programming negotiation and distribution. Avail was formed from a merger of Aurora's Communications and BroadStream Communications in December 2006.

It closed its Series B financing last week, securing $25 million from investors, Novak Biddle Venture Partners , Valhalla Partners, Pioneer Ventures and Columbia Capital. A further $5 million had been previously raised as debt from Silicon Valley Bank. Avail is a program aggregator and enables would-be IPTV operators to focus on infrastructure deployment while leaving programming access to them. Avail is competing against the likes of SES Americom's IP Prime and also Echostar's ViP-TV which provides 300 channels from its K band satellites. IP Prime has enjoyed first mover advantage through its industry relationship with the National Rural Telecommunications Co-operative and offers a turnkey solution for any telco seeking to enter the IPTV market.

Avail is hoping the market will be big enough for several players and marketing manager Jon Romm is confident the tier two carriers and the remaining reluctant tier three players are now ready to jump into IPTV. How enthusiastic they will be if the US economy goes into reverse is to be seen, but Romm confirms that many of the regional carriers are now engaged in serious deployment negotiations.

For More:
- Avail press release of its VC funding
- Light reading has a report

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