MIchelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 12-08-2011

In what could be middling news for rural triple-play operators in the US looking to innovate with IPTV, EchoStar is closing down its satellite service for IPTV delivery starting in September.

The company started delivering MPEG-4 IPTV channels via the skies back in 2007 under the ViP-TV moniker, primarily catering to smaller operators in areas not easily reached by terrestrial networks like Duncan Cable, Canby Telcom, KPU Telecommunications, Citizens Cablevision, BTC Broadband, Rural Cable, TCT West, CT Communications and North Penn Telephone Co. SES Americom shut down its own satellite IPTV service in 2009, giving EchoStar a bit of a push in the market. But now, two years later, it appears that demand doesn't justify the support of the service.

EchoStar is working with its customers on a case-by-case basis to migrate them to one of many unspecified "alternatives" or to one of EchoStar's soon-to-be-former competitors in satellite IPTV, Avail-TVN and the Comcast Media Centre. Avail-TVN is planning a Webinar on 15 August to explain the options to EchoStar customers.

"Avail-TVN would like to reassure ViP-TV customers and the industry that Avail-TVN is here to support ViP customers during this transition," said Avail-TVN COO Jon Romm.