Broadband Fuels Euro Action

Elsewhere in Europe: IPTV!
Siemens Communications Group and partner Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) have been shouting about a network extension contract with Italian triple-play pioneer Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), as the carrier makes an IPTV marketing push based around the World Cup. (See Siemens Wins FastWeb Deal and FastWeb picks Juniper.)

Siemens is providing its Surpass hiX 56xx multiservice DSLAM, while Juniper says FastWeb has ordered more than 200 of its E320 broadband services routers, a product that Juniper is beefing up as the demands of IPTV service providers ramp up. (See Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories.)

Previously, Siemens has supplied FastWeb with its DSLAMs and Juniper's ERX-1440 routers. (See FastWeb Picks Siemens, Juniper.)

The news follows another IPTV-related IP DSLAM win for Siemens, this time in Norway. (See Lyse Picks Siemens IP DSLAMs.)

Italy plays its opening World Cup game Monday against Ghana at 9 p.m. (central European time, 3 p.m. Eastern U.S.), with the football-mad nation sure to test the capabilities of the carrier's network to the full. FastWeb had more than 700,000 residential customers in March this year, of which about 200,000 subscribe to its IPTV service. (See FastWeb Offers IPTV Lessons.)

Another IPTV service under scrutiny is that of Club Internet in France. Why? Because it's the French broadband division of German giant Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), and is just about to become the first European service provider to provide live commercial TV-over-DSL services using Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s IPTV platform. (See Club Internet Unveils IPTV .)

That marks a breakthrough for Microsoft: Its IPTV system has been chosen, tested, and trialed by a number of major European carriers such as BT, Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC), and Telecom Italia (TIM) , but is yet to be deployed in a production network. (See Alcatel Lands TDC IPTV Deal, Swisscom IPTV Stall Sends Shivers, and TI Develops IPTV With Microsoft.)

So Club Internet's launch will be eagerly watched, especially by the ISP's parent company, which earlier this year announced it would also use Microsoft's platform to deliver video and TV services to its broadband customers. (See Microsoft Wins IPTV Deal at DT.)

Microsoft will need to impress in France if it is to instill confidence in Germany, where Deutsche Telekom has major plans for high-speed access services. (See DT Flings Billions at Fiber Access and Alcatel, ECI Land DT Gig.)

Meanwhile, ECI Telecom Ltd. has continued to cement its position as a key supplier of multiservice access gateways to Deutsche Telekom and Orange (NYSE: FTE). It's still the main DSL equipment firm behind FT's IPTV service -- known, unfortunately, as MaLigne TV until it became Orange TV recently -- and recently landed a $20 million deal to be the sole provider of DSLAMs to FT's broadband unit in the Netherlands. (See ECI Touts DSLAM Deal.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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