BT announced today that their IPTV solution, BT Vision will finally launch on 4th December which nicely coincides with the recent announcements about the rollout of BT’s 21CN network in Cardiff. As yet BT have not announced their pricing strategy for BT Vision, but given Sky’s lead in the home entertainment market and their announcement today of Sky Anytime (previously Sky by Broadband) I guess it will have to be competitive. Although I wouldn’t bank on it just yet as this is a potential future cash cow for BT and I doubt they will come out all guns blazing on price, just in case they get overwhelmed by demand like CarPhone Warehouse if the price is set too low.
A spokesman did however say “there would be a measured roll-out of the new service that would pick up momentum in the spring.
Or in other words 21CN is behind schedule, we’ve missed the key Christmas season but after our CEO promised the City that our service would launch before Christmas, we had better deliver something or our stock price will be affected.
So other than the usual regurgitated content announcements and hyped visions of an IPTV future, there wasn’t really anything new to be learnt today. However the technology behind BT HomeHub and BT Vision is more interesting and insightful as it shows that possibly BT has a cunning plan, even if more often than not it feels like there isn’t.
Firstly the BT HomeHub router comes from a company called 2Wire in the USA and according to their website the “2Wire HomePortal® 2700HGV intelligent residential gateway features an advanced ADSL2/2+ modem, integrated VoIP, unprecedented QoS features, simplified installation with secure instant wireless setup, and extensive diagnostic tools. The gateway’s modem supports broadband speeds of up to 24 Mbps, which is necessary for delivering IPTV. In addition its includes a USB 2.0 port allowing for Network
Attached Storage and Print Server functions.”
So basically BT is putting in place the hardware platform ready for the future rollout of its highspeed ADSL2+ network which of course is the 21CN network so often talked about. The problem BT has right now is that companies like O2 with their acquisition of BE and others are further ahead in their ADSL2+ rollout strategy.
As we all know the race for customers began when CarPhone Warehouse announced their “free” broadband offer but the real cut throat competition won’t take place until next year when BT has both the platform (21CN + Vision + HomeHub + Fusion) and the freedom to compete (Ofcom will remove the gloves once 1.5m phone lines have been unbundled by BT’s competitors).