We've Got Our IPTV
In journalism school, they tell you not to make yourselves part of the story. Well, toss that. Because Light Reading last month launched the first-ever broadcast-quality television channel on the Internet covering the telecommunications industry: Light Reading TV.
This week LRTV interviewed dozens of industry luminaries. Broadband, IPTV, and fixed-mobile convergence were the topics du jour.
Interviewees included, among many others, Walter McCormick, president and CEO of the United States Telecom Association(USTA); Bill Smith, CTO of BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS); Mike Volpi, senior vice president at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Mike Quigley, COO of Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA); and Paul Reynolds, chief executive of BT Group plc's (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) wholesale division.
In this series of TV interviews, it became clear that the industry is rallying around the next set of technologies, including IPTV and IMS, which are capable of delivering an explosion of new communications applications over the next few years.
”I believe we are going to see IP-everything over our networks,” said the USTA’s McCormick in an LRTV exclusive. "IP voice, IP data, and IP video.” McCormick believes this evolution of networks will require the government to be more flexible in regulation. “I think it’s time for government to not manage competition, but to turn to the free market."
Mike Quigley, Alcatel’s COO and possible CEO in waiting, also sees a big future in IP technologies and IPTV in particular, saying, “The biggest trend we see at Alcatel is the explosion of IPTV."
Of course, Alcatel is wrapped up in one of the industry's most high-profile projects, the IPTV deployment at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), itself the topic of some debate.
(For those wondering about the fate of the Aussie at Alcatel, whom many think could be the company’s next CEO, Quigley confessed to Light Reading in an interview with LRTV that he doesn’t speak any French. Even though he’s soon taking an “intensive” French course, he notes that “English is the official language of Alcatel.”)
There is significant speculation that IPTV will flop, or somehow, just not work. That's nuts. It's already here – in many cases it's already working.
Will there be delays and engineering challenges in rolling it out to the mass market? Most certainly. I continue to think that some folks continue to be fixated on the wrong approach – copying cable with the channel-changing paradigm (see Video Is the Internet). Yes, it will require substantial investment and deployment by the telcos, and other communications providers, to make it work over existing fixed-line and mobile networks.
The best thing about our own IPTV project? Well, it worked. It’s clearly a demonstration that the technology is evolving and is ready to permanently change the future of broadband – and media. Three years ago, we certainly could not have done this. But advances in technology and bandwidth have made it possible. Think of where we can go in another three years.
LRTV’s Supercomm coverage can be seen here: Supercomm 2005: Monday, Supercomm 2005: Tuesday, and Supercomm 2005: Wednesday. The rest of our interviews from Supercomm will air on LRTV over the course of the next month.
— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading