Belgacom, Belgium's leading telecommunications operator, and Nokia Siemens Networks have extended their contract for the delivery and integration of an IPTV solution for another three years. Nokia Siemens Networks is also supporting Belgacom's plan to add high-definition television to its existing portfolio of interactive TV services via IP-based broadband lines.
The two companies are building on a successful partnership in television services that began in 2004 with the supply of Nokia Siemens Networks' IPTV solution to Belgacom. As a result, Belgacom's total customer base for its Belgacom TV soared to more than 190,000 subscribers by the end of June 2007, far beyond expectations, making the Belgian operator one of the top IPTV providers in the world. By extending the contract, Belgacom has reinforced the partnership between the two companies and expanded its planned services to include high-definition interactive television.
As part of the contract, Nokia Siemens Networks also will be delivering and integrating set-top boxes for high-definition TV into Belgacom's network. End-user set-top boxes are an integral part of Nokia Siemens Networks' end-to-end solution, which uses its own leading middleware including an attractive user interface as well as best-of-breed components for encryption/content protection, content servers and TV head-ends. Set-top boxes are the most visible components in the subscribers' home: they render the user interface to the consumer and decode standard and high-definition video and TV content. To save access bandwidth, high-definition content is transmitted in the highly compressed H.264 (MPEG-4) format.
Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver the first high-definition set-top boxes as from November 2007 and integrate them throughout Belgacom's IPTV network. The company will also handle software maintenance services. These services are a key element of high quality network operations, given the large amount of software used in such networks and their increasing complexity. With the new high-definition TV set-top boxes, the Belgacom TV community will enter the new era of television services in the first half of 2008.
Scott Alcott, Executive Vice President of Belgacom's Service Delivery Engine, said: "At the end of June 2007, we had already registered more than 190,000 IPTV users. Thanks to the new technical evolutions, we will further expand our Belgacom TV service, both in terms of services offered and customers reached. Our upgraded network and the set-top boxes delivered by Nokia Siemens Networks will allow us to offer full triple play services, including multiple IPTV channels on multiple TV sets simultaneously and High Definition Television (HDTV) to about two thirds of the Belgian households in the year to come".
"We are pleased to deepen ties with Belgacom by providing an advanced IPTV solution, strong know-how and the most reliable services. We attach great importance to the further development of our IPTV platform, which helps operators and service providers make optimum use of their investment in bandwidth by generating new revenues" said Bart Bosmans, Head of Customer Team Belgacom at Nokia Siemens Networks.