The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) have inked a long-term agreement to help rural telcos enter the video business.
Working in partnership with SES Americom, the organizations plan to launch the service in 2006.
The venture will provide rural telcos with program licenses and volume discounts on equipment – and up to a 90 percent savings on associated infrastructure costs, according to NRTC President & CEO Bob Philips.
The alliance “will allow rural telephone companies to offer the highest-quality service without paying a high price,” Phillips said.
Earlier this year, SES Americom launched IP-PRIME, a platform that centralizes distribution for both standard- and high-definition channels and programming. SES Americom is basing the service from Vernon Valley, N.J., where video and audio fare will be received and processed for distribution via satellite and fiber landlines to IPTV provider hubs.
For telcos that already offer video services, the venture will market MPEG-4-based IPTV packages that aim to “enhance” current offerings.
The NTCA said it will make a “significant equity investment” in NRTC’s present IPTV project with SES Americom, which is in the planning stages.