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Cable/Video

Calix Rooms With Microsoft

Broadband access vendor Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) boosted its IPTV play yesterday with a licensing agreement that will allow its access products to interoperate with Mediaroom, the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) middleware and applications platform. (See Calix Supports Mediaroom.)

Calix becomes the second access equipment vendor to license the software, which will allow it to target Tier 2 service providers looking to deploy the Microsoft middleware.

The other licensee, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), is a major supplier of access products for the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse video deployment.

The licensing agreement came about because some of Calix's access customers wanted to deploy the Microsoft system in their IPTV rollouts, says Geoff Burke, director of field marketing at Calix.

"They said to Microsoft that they wanted Mediaroom, but they already had all of this Calix gear installed," Burke says

Calix officials say their company is already in trials with Mediaroom-based IPTV services, but won't specify which ones. Customers of Calix's access products include Tier 2 telcos like Embarq Corp. (NYSE: EQ), Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), TDS Telecom , and Citizens Communications Co. (NYSE: CZN) subsidiary Frontier Online .

Of those customers, the most likely candidate to deploy a Calix-Microsoft IPTV product in the near future may be Embarq, which said earlier this year that it would be testing an IPTV service. (See Embarq to Test Telco TV Service and Embarq's Copper TV.)

While Calix is still firmly entrenched in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 marketplace, Burke said the company's support of Mediaroom could give some larger provider, like AT&T, an alternative to incumbent equipment suppliers for its IPTV deployment.

But when asked if support of AT&T's middleware vendor of choice could help move his company upmarket, Calix VP of marketing Kevin Walsh kept his ego in check. "There's no truth to the rumor that we're going to buy Cisco," he says.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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