Walled-garden IPTV efforts are doomed, so Qwest wants to ensure that OTT video runs the best on its broadband network, exec says

December 8, 2009

2 Min Read
Qwest Ready to Ride Video's Over-the-Top Wave

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Management World Americas -- Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) continues to chart a unique course among major U.S. telecom service providers, focusing on improving its broadband network in the belief that video content is moving rapidly to an over-the-top (OTT), on-demand model, Neil Cox, Qwest's EVP for product and IT, said here today at the TM Forum -run event.

"Only sports need to be live," Cox said. "We see these walled-garden IPTV models breaking down. We see a tremendous amount of over-the-top video."

For that reason, Qwest will continue to partner with DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), which has added an Ethernet jack to its newest DVR/set-top receiver to bring broadband content to the TV set "to provide a really rich customer experience," said Cox.

Even sports programming is moving to the online model, he said, citing Major League Baseball's successful online video efforts.

"We are seeing ASV -- ad-supported video -- and Blu-rays and new TVs hooked up to the Internet, and we at Qwest are not going to stand in the way," Cox said. "We want to make sure [OTT content providers'] video works better on our network than on anyone else's network."

Qwest will focus on providing content-delivery networks, as well as provisioning, maintenance, and billing, which are the company's strengths, in order to "get into the value stream of these economics," Cox said.

Qwest also sees opportunity in bringing broadband to the 40 percent of customers in its territory that don't yet subscribe, and in moving customers to higher tiered services, given that half of broadband customers today get 1.5 Mbit/s, he said.

Qwest offers 40-Mbit/s downstream and 20-Mbit/s upstream service to the more than 3 million homes passed by its fiber-to-the-node and VDSL2+ network today, Cox said, noting that the telco is adding more than 1 million homes per year to that network. (See Qwest Attacks Comcast With 40 Mbit/s.)

On the enterprise side, cloud computing represents an opportunity for Qwest to move beyond providing space and power in the hosting centers it built on its long-distance fiber network early in the decade to offer cloud computing. Just a few years back, "you could have played football in one of our hosting centers" because they were large empty buildings, but they are now running at 90 percent capacity, Cox said.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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