SureWest adopts Capex-free IPTV bandwidth reclamation

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 11-11-2011

SureWest Communications has become the latest operator to use a bandwidth reclamation strategy for rolling out new IPTV services ahead of making major infrastructure improvements.
The regional U.S. telco needed to expand its TV channel line-up and offer new services, but had reached the limits of its existing plant and didn’t want to invest the CapEx to convert to an all-IP network or to rely on digital analogue converters (DTAs). Instead, it has rolled out BigBand's Switched Digital Video (SDV) offering to its Kansas City subscriber base, which will be used to optimise and reclaim network bandwidth for use in the delivery of additional high definition (HD) programming, data, interactive features, IPTV and other services to traditional TVs and IP-connected devices in subscribers' homes.
SureWest has experienced substantial growth in subscriber demand for network capacity, meaning significant competition for available bandwidth resources within SureWest's network. New uses, such as on-demand films and video streaming, have added to demand. Eventually, multiscreen strategies and digital lockers will be part of the picture too.
"In addition to meeting our needs for HD expansion, BigBand's SDV solution helps us stay competitive and paves the way for us to support a broader base of connected devices, including PCs, mobile devices, IP set-top boxes and tablets," said Ken Johnson, vice president and CTO for SureWest. "BigBand's SDV helps us enhance our network more cost effectively and without disrupting the service quality our customers expect. The solution supports our long-term vision of portability, where any content can be delivered to any device both inside and outside the home."
While taking advantage of the existing RF plant, SDV provides the ability to add incrementally more QAM channels, offering greatly enhanced bandwidth capability for more content and on demand applications, BigBand said. SureWest launched 50 additional HD channels in its Kansas City market with the technology, and can now support and deliver more interactive applications.
The SDV most importantly gives SureWest the ability to migrate to better network technologies at its own pace while offering advanced services in the interim. "We expect to move all of our networks incrementally over time toward broadband technologies that fully exploit optical fiber and other new advances as they emerge,” said Johnson. “We have shown that in our California networks already. We will manage this migration in a cost-effective way while continuing to deliver high quality and choice to our customers.”
"By selecting SDV, SureWest has made a cost-effective investment in its multi-screen future," said Rajive Dhar, senior vice president for corporate development and strategic planning at BigBand. "SDV bridges the gap to IP, today."