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FastWeb: Another IPTV Flameout

Carol Wilson

5:25 PM -- Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) will close down its IPTV service by the end of the year, citing declining subscribership, Italian news sources report Thursday.

The demise of this pioneering IPTV service -- Fastweb launched in 2001 -- is the latest indication of how hard it is to make a go of paid video content.

What's particularly disturbing about this announcement is that Fastweb hasn't exactly sat on its hands since 2001, waiting for customers to come. Rather, since then, it's launched an FTTH initiative, added interactive advertising and done its own over-the-top video play. (See Fastweb Hits 100Mbit/s and IPTV Forum: FastWeb Turns On to OTT.)

But its service peaked at 240,000 subscribers, not enough to make a paid-content offer work.

Instead Fastweb has signed a deal with Sky Italia to bundle Sky's satellite television service with its broadband service, which offers speeds of up to 100MB for fiber customers.

This story grabbed my eye because in planning our upcoming TelcoTV event in Las Vegas Oct. 24-26, I've been struck by both the struggles U.S. telcos are facing in the video business and the innovation they are adopting to overcome those struggles. In some cases, however, they too are shutting down an IPTV service for sheer lack of sales ability. (See IPTV Pioneer Now Going OTT.)

So if you are a telco thinking of closing the door on IPTV or finding some new way to make it work, let me know. I'm interested in your experience.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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