Video services

SBC Eyes Alamo City for Video

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) has picked San Antonio as the first city where it will attempt to conquer the telco video market and position itself as a viable video service alternative to cable companies and satellite providers.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, SBC has previously maintained it did not need a state-issued license to deliver IPTV because IPTV is just data packets traveling the Internet, like email. Now it appears the company has reversed its stance. But this filing is also interesting because it’s the first time SBC has revealed a site where it intends to offer video services of any kind. (See SBC, Microsoft Defend Lightspeed and Telcos Close In on TX Video Win.)

According to the Texas Public Utilities Commission, SBC has applied to provide video service in 21 municipalities that make up the Greater San Antonio area including: Alamo Heights, Balcones Heights, Castle Hills, China Grove, Cibolo, Converse, Garden Ridge, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Kirby, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Olmos Park, San Antonio, Schertz, Selma, Shavano Park, Terrell Hills, Timberwood Park, Universal City, and Windcrest.

The company has already been testing its coming IPTV service with executives in Austin and San Antonio. (See Picture Fuzzy for Video Franchise Bills and Inside SBC's IPTV Factory.)

SBC follows Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Grande Communications, and Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative Inc. as service providers that have applied for, or been granted, a Texas state-issued video franchise. However, another prospective Texas video provider -- Optical Entertainment Network -- is taking SBC's earlier approach, saying it won't need a state-issued franchise because it plans to deploy IPTV. (See IPTV Startup Has Big Plans for Texas.)

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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