• Verizon expands FiOS services in Mass., Va., Md.
By Traci Patterson
Consumers and small businesses in Ashland, Mass., now have access to Verizon’s FiOS TV service. Ashland is among 78 Massachusetts communities where the telco’s video service is offered, and Verizon is currently negotiating with several other communities in the state to obtain additional franchises. Verizon’s FiOS TV service is also now available to approximately 4,500 households and businesses in parts of Stafford County, Va., and to more than 22,500 additional consumers and small businesses in parts of northeastern Baltimore County, Md.
New residential customers who subscribe to FiOS TV by Oct. 4 will receive their choice of a year’s free use of either a high-definition (HD) digital video recorder (DVR) or an HD Home Media DVR. Verizon is also offering new FiOS TV customers, or existing customers who upgrade to a bundled package, one free month of HBO and Cinemax.
And finally, the telco has expanded the availability of its Verizon FiOS suite of Internet services for consumers in Danvers, Hudson and Milford, Mass.
• AT&T launches U-verse Voice in northeastern Illinois
By Traci Patterson
Consumers in northeastern Illinois now have access to AT&T’s U-verse Voice service. AT&T U-verse Voice completes the company’s IP triple play and is available to all new and existing U-verse TV customers in the northeastern Illinois area.
U-verse Voice, a managed IP-based service that is delivered over AT&T’s fiber-rich network, offers the following features: combined AT&T U-verse Voice and AT&T wireless voicemail with U-verse Messaging, which provides a single voice mailbox that can be accessed from any phone line or PC; U-verse Central, an online management portal where subscribers can manage all of their voice-related services; Call History; Click to Call; an online address book; Locate Me; and other traditional calling features.
AT&T announced on Tuesday that consumers in central Arkansas now have access to AT&T’s suite of U-verse services, which include U-verse TV, U-verse High-Speed Internet and U-verse Voice (story here).
• ActiveVideo Networks hires Villalpando as SVP of marketing
By Mike Robuck
San Jose, Calif.-based ActiveVideo Networks announced today that it has hired Edgar Villalpando as its senior vice president of marketing.
Villalpando, whose career includes executive positions with HBO and DirecTV, most recently served as general manager of Thump, an agency that develops and markets branded content through a combination of traditional and interactive platforms. At ActiveVideo Networks, Villalpando will be responsible for all marketing activities.
“Delivering a fully interactive Web experience to the mass audience of television has become a real imperative for content and service providers, advertisers and CE manufacturers,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of ActiveVideo Networks. “Edgar Villalpando’s wide-ranging background in programming, distribution, advertising and New Media will help increase the brand equity of ActiveVideo as a platform that can help our customers satisfy the demands of a new generation of television viewers.”
• WildBlue completes $50M equity financing
By Traci Patterson
WildBlue Communications, which provides broadband Internet via satellite service throughout rural America, has completed a $50 million equity financing to support its continued growth.
The proceeds will fund WildBlue’s recently launched customer equipment leasing program, enabling the company’s service to be offered to new customers throughout rural America “at the lowest upfront price in the company’s history,” WildBlue said. The company will also expand its workforce in the areas of customer care and field service operations.
The financing was led by Liberty Media, Intelsat, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and the private equity firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
• Miniweb to demo Interactive Service Platform at IBC
By Traci Patterson
Miniweb, an interactive service provider that enables targeted, Web-style advertising and interactive TV (iTV), will demonstrate its Interactive Service Platform at IBC 2008.
Miniweb’s platform can re-purpose and deploy Internet content as an iTV service. Miniweb has also produced the tools and templates that make it easy and quick to design, build and publish iTV sites. Miniweb’s open standards-based platform enables the creation and delivery of interactive entertainment across multiple TV distribution networks and is already deployed in more than nine million home, the company said.
“Broadcasters can now deliver targeted and relevant interactivity to make their channels more engaging by enhancing their programming with broadband-delivered, Internet-derived content,” said Ian Valentine, chief architect and founder of Miniweb. “The Miniweb platform drives down the cost of developing and deploying interactive content to viewers across multiple types of TV distribution networks. Network operators are now in a position to provide access to a personalized broadcast and broadband entertainment proposition to a single device. Anyone keen to understand how TV interactivity is now an affordable and revenue-generating proposition can visit us at IBC. We look forward to demonstrating how Miniweb uniquely puts interactivity within the reach of all the players in the value chain and enables them to revolutionize how consumers engage with entertainment, information and advertising.”
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