Cisco and SES AMERICOM, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges : SESG), today announced an agreement to enable rural local exchange carriers (RLECs) in North America to easily, quickly and cost-effectively offer IPTV to their subscribers using an innovative solution that combines the Cisco IP Next-Generation Networks (IP NGNs) with SES AMERICOM's IP-PRIMETM IPTV service. The end-to-end offering processes content and television programming and distributes it via satellite to telecommunications companies and their IPTV consumers nationwide. Systems integration from both companies and their respective partners is an integral part of the offering.
In rural areas of the United States, telecommunications companies will offer IP-PRIMETM through the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) in partnership with the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA). Cisco and SES AMERICOM understand the challenges RLECs face in transforming themselves from voice and data providers to "Experience Providers" that can offer any-play services anywhere, anytime. The companies' combined technology, industry relationships and experience make it simple for RLECs to add IPTV to their service portfolios and converge all services over a single IP network. This enables RLECs to gain significant cost efficiencies, generate new revenue, and establish long-term competitive advantages.
The fully-managed SES IP-PRIME solution combined with the Cisco IP NGN architecture creates a complete end-to-end IPTV service with encoding, encapsulation, third-party middleware, scrambling/descrambling, satellite receivers, conditional access, set-top boxes, service management and integration services. More than 30 television programmers and networks representing more than 290 channels have signed IP-PRIME transport agreements to date. The combined offering is currently in beta trials with several RLECs and is set for commercial deployment early this year. "We're harnessing Cisco's network expertise and combining it with our proven IP-PRIME solution to offer service providers and consumers the best choices and the highest-quality IPTV services in the world today," said Jon Russo, SVP marketing and product management for SES AMERICOM. "Cisco is a household name and a technology innovator with the resources and experience to accelerate RLEC IPTV deployments."
RLECs that select the combined offering also have a choice of IPTV set top boxes, including a full complement of devices from Cisco. The Cisco suite of IPTV set-top boxes includes standard-definition (SD), high-definition (HD), SD/HD digital video recorder (DVR), and three-stream gateway products. SES AMERICOM also employs the company's MPEG-4 Part 10 standard- and high-definition encoders to deliver multi-channel standard- and high-definition video services, and the ROSATM Network Management System for network and equipment monitoring and control capabilities.
"This solution greatly reduces the complexity of and time-to-market for RLEC IPTV deployments" said Jeff Spagnola, vice-president of service provider marketing for Cisco. "We are extremely pleased to be working with SES AMERICOM to move this market forward and help RLECs become 'Experience Providers' to meet their subscribers' increasing demands" - Cisco.