Belgacom to launch DSL interactive TV

Alcatel on board for VDSL service

Belgacom has selected Alcatel as the first supplier for the roll-out of their upcoming VDSL service. The Belgium telecom operator plans to offer new, premium broadband services such as interactive television to residential and business customers in Brussels, Ghent and Liege.

Michel Rahier, chief operating officer of Alcatel's Fixed Communication activities, said earlier this week: "Where today, broadband is still mainly targeting PC users, applications in the near future will enable all family members to do their favorite broadband activity simultaneously on a variety of terminals. Broadband expansion is a worldwide trend, and the increase in bandwidth demand is a natural evolution."

Very high-speed digital subscriber line (VDSL) transmits data over existing telephone lines at fast speeds over relatively short distances. For example, several TV channels can be simultaneously transmitted over VDSL.

Belgacom is not the first company in Europe to offer video and TV services via ADSL or VDSL. France Telecom rolled out a similar service in Lyons, and in Germany T-Online is experimenting with video on demand.

Almost every major telco and many broadband service providers now want to sell entertainment, senior analyst of the Yankee Group Jonathan Doran told a conference in the Netherlands earlier this week. Those services are required to compensate for the falling revenues for basic broadband packages. "Home networking is moving to the heart of service provider strategy, especially as a facilitator for consuming content."

Doran had to admit, however, that currently there isn't a lot of money to be made in online entertainment: "As most telcos do not own the content, their margins will remain low." ®

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