Orcon New Zealand to provide television via Internet

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Internet service provider (ISP) and telephone provider, Orcon Internet Limited, is going to start to provide television channels via super-fast broadband right to the customers television set. The service will be rolled out sometime next year after Telecom New Zealand has opened its lines to the competitors.

The high speed internet Orcon wishes to use is called VDSL2+ which is able to go 100 megabits per second; this is an upgrade of Telecom's current technology, ADSL 2+. The new technology will be able to be installed when the government has opened up Telecoms lines to other ISPs. Scott Bartlett, regulatory manager of Orcon, said: "If we left this to the big telcos we wouldn't get VDSL2+ for 5-10 years. We don't have an existing legacy framework that limits us, so we can leap-frog them in terms of technology."

The television channels/programmes will be delivered in high definition via IPTV, or Internet protocol television, to a set-top box, similar to those of Sky Network Television, connected to broadband.

Orcon has invested NZ$30 million into the new television service, they will be teaming up with Siemens to deliver the new television system.

Mr Bartlett said: "We are pitching to a market segment who were not necessarily totally nuts about watching the rugby live but still wanted high-definition quality television delivered by broadband."

Orcon already has 52 channels secured, they channels will include the genres of comedy, science-fiction, news, music, weather and speaciality language channels. The movies will cost $1.00 each. And for $25 customers will be able to buy 25 channels or for $30 there will be 52 channels. For Sky television it costs $15 a week for an entry level package. "We don't believe we have a monopoly and every channel known to man, we just think we have the ones that are important to New Zealanders," the chief executive of Sky, John Fellet, said.

Mr Fellet said they "would like to partner with Orcon and deliver our channels over Orcon's service, but if that did not happen, we are looking forward to competition heating up. Compete with us, that is fine. If you want to take our core product and add options yourself, that is an option as well. We have rights to rugby and movies, so whenever companies start seriously looking at it, they will look upon us as more of a supplier than a competitor.

Sky has confirmed that they have contracts to deliver IPTV via Telecom services, as Sky is planning to release an IPTV service early 2007. "For the foreseeable future, until the infrastructure improves, the satellite is the best way to deliver live rugby but if you wanted to see a game that has been played, the internet is the best way to do that, by streaming," Mr Fellet said.