IP video

Frontier Gives Telco TV a Boost

After a dismal couple of quarters on the telco TV front in the US, Frontier is hoping to add some spark with the launch of its IP-based FrontierTV service in Durham, N.C.

Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) announced that it will introduce FrontierTV to customers in select sections of Durham, beginning in January. While that's only one small region, it's also the first location in Frontier's footprint that wasn't previously owned by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) or Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to get the IPTV service, according to a report by FierceTelecom.

Frontier also said it plans to bring FrontierTV to customers on both its copper DSL network and its fiber-to-the-home infrastructure in Durham. The operator is using Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Mediaroom video platform and will deploy wireless set-tops that it says will simplify the installation process.

Competition in North Carolina, and particularly in the Research Triangle area where Durham is located, has been surprisingly fierce of late. Frontier began offering an Internet tier with speeds up to 1 Gbit/s in Durham last year after AT&T announced it would deploy gigabit service there as part of an agreement with North Carolina Next Generation Network. Since then, Google Fiber Inc. has also said it will introduce gigabit broadband in the Raleigh-Durham area. (See AT&T GigaPower Wins Two NC Cities and Gigabites: Google Fiber Forges On.)

Want to know more about pay-TV market trends? Check out our dedicated video services content channel here on Light Reading.

Frontier's activity could be good news for telco TV vendors. If the operator needs a compelling TV service to make its broadband offering competitive, it will likely have to invest further in both infrastructure and customer premises equipment. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) CEO Bob Stanzione noted in his company's last earnings call that he thinks Frontier will be in an investing mode after it closes on the acquisition of Verizon FiOS systems in California, Florida and Texas, a deal which Frontier believes it will complete in early 2016.

"I think Frontier will invest in expanding," said Stanzione. "That is fabulous plant." (See Arris Needs Pace to Help Recoup Telco Losses.)

On the pricing front, Frontier is reportedly willing to drop its fees in Durham to compete with other providers. The company will bundle data, voice and video for $150 per month with its gigabit broadband tier. When Frontier first launched gigabit service, it offered gigabit service at $220 per month. Triple-play packages in Durham with lower Internet speeds delivered over copper will start at under $70 per month.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

Mitch Wagner 11/24/2015 | 4:26:41 PM
Why Durham? Durham is jam-packed with technology businesses that can use the bandwidth. 

It's also home to TV personality Biff Henderson. 
msilbey 11/24/2015 | 12:58:53 PM
Re: Durham I don't remember a licensing deal specifically, but they've taken over some AT&T markets...
KBode 11/24/2015 | 12:55:01 PM
Re: Durham Ok, I'd forgotten that they struck a deal to license AT&T's U-verse technology, right?
msilbey 11/24/2015 | 12:50:35 PM
Re: Durham All the AT&T stuff is on Mediaroom so maybe it's not that big a surprise. Still trying to find out if they're Arris set-tops. I'd guess yes, but have no confirmation of that. 
KBode 11/24/2015 | 12:28:34 PM
Durham Apparently Durham and Austin are real tech hubs, if the gigabit deployments are any indication. Both places are finally getting a chance to see what broadband (and IPTV) competition actually looks like. Interesting Frontier went with the Mediaroom stuff instead of the systems they usually use for their FiOS TV deployments?
thebulk 11/24/2015 | 12:28:33 PM
Bring it It seems that a little competitive mix is a good thing after all. 
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