The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) recently announced that telcos now have the opportunity to deliver more than 80 channels of high-definition (HD) programming.
Over the past three weeks, the NRTC said it has more than doubled its HD offering and has created programming packages that enable rural telcos to derive incremental revenue.
The HD offering includes premium services such as HBO and Starz; the entire ESPN HD lineup; and services from Disney, Discovery Communications, Lifetime Networks, Smithsonian and the Tennis Channel.
The NRTC has created two tiers of HD programming, which can allow telcos to realize incremental, recurring revenue. “HD Basic” gives telcos a way to deliver HD at no cost to the telco and includes channels such as CNN HD, ESPN HD and Bravo HD. The “HD Tier” includes premium high-definition channels such as A&E HD, HDNet and HD Theater (Discovery Networks).
In December of last year, SES Americom announced that it was closing its IP-Prime service in North America by July 31, citing slow adoption of IPTV services by small- and medium-size telcos as one of the reasons for discontinuing the service (story here). SES Americom also said the difficult market outlook for IPTV services was another reason for pulling the plug on the service that offered video feeds to smaller telcos.