Sending television signals over copper and fiber – aka IPTV – has become quite popular in Asia, and we have heard a lot about it coming stateside. Bundling that with voice and high-speed internet access is seen as a quick and simple way for phone companies to prop-up their falling revenues. The Baby Bells have promised this for the longest time, but have failed to deliver. Ironically a group of small companies are bringing this technology to the rural communities in the United States. Take for instance, St. Peter, Minnesota where nearly half of town’s 10,000 residents watch television over copper. They use a package from HickoryTech Corp – digital television, high-speed Internet and phone service over its telephone lines for $86 per month. “Telephone service has lost its glamour. (It’s) not the same type of service to the consumer that it was five years ago,” says HickoryTech Marketing Director Paul Bertino. In the US, about 77 companies are using copper and fiber to deliver such packages, according to Ken Pyle, co-founder of Viodi, which arranges programming for broadband video systems. John Schultz, general manager of FTTH Communications in Roseville, Minnesota, which sells video over fiber-optic lines to about 400 homes says, “We should push things like a la carte. We should be allowed to try things like that and differentiate ourselves in the market.” I guess as large companies are dragging their feet, the little guys are taking the challenge and meeting what customers really want.
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