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Motorola nabs Verizon video contract

Mon, 10/25/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Verizon has signed Motorola Broadband to a multi-year deal to power the telco's video services platform.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Motorola has agreed to supply headend equipment and set-tops to support Verizon's video services effort. Motorola's newly-formed Telecom Access Solutions business will also supply Verizon with integration and operations services.

Scientific-Atlanta also was in the running for Verizon's video business, but disclosed last week in an earnings call that it did not win the contract.

Verizon, which recently accelerated its plans to roll out advanced fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks, said it will launch video services sometime in 2005. Under the new plan, the telco expects to deploy its fiber-rich FiOS platform to 3 million homes and businesses in 2005.

Although Verizon has yet to disclose the technical details of its forthcoming video offering, it's expected that the telco initially will use an RF overlay to deliver video over fiber, and then migrate later to an IP-based video service. Verizon also has not announced which conditional access system it will use to support video, but the most likely candidate is Motorola's MediaCipher product.

"We will offer a full set of video services, some of which that could resemble cable TV today," a Verizon spokesman said. He added that the selection of Motorola signifies that Verizon is "dead serious about moving into the video arena."

Motorola is the U.S. cable industry's largest supplier of set-tops and headend equipment.

When asked if Motorola expects to see a backlash from cable operators following the agreement to supply Verizon with video equipment and know-how, a Motorola spokesman downplayed the notion, explaining that the vendor supplies cell phone hardware to a variety of competing service providers. He noted that Motorola also operates divisions that work with the cable and teleo sectors independently as to avoid potential church-and-state issues.

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