Cable One said it will launch a new IPTV offering early this year, dubbed Sparklight TV, which will provide cloud-based video programming to customers and eventually eliminate the need for set-top boxes while freeing up more bandwidth for faster high-speed internet services.
Phoenix, Arizona-based Cable One will use technology provided by Silicon Valley video company MobiTV to deploy its new service. MobiTV's IPTV solution, called Connect, was recently deployed by Ohio's MCTV and is now used by more than 120 cable operators.
The move from linear video to IPTV has been a long time coming. Cable One, which rebranded to Sparklight in 2019, has focused mainly on growing its broadband customers over the years. In Q3, it had 263,000 traditional video subscribers and 784,000 high-speed data customers. The switch to IPTV will allow the company to reclaim enough spectrum to expand its current Gigabit broadband offerings, paving the way, it said, to a 10G technology platform.
“Our transition to IP-based TV service will enable us to reclaim spectrum in our network needed to continue to expand the capabilities and speeds of our core high speed data product and provide the communities we serve with the fastest and most reliable internet service,” Sparklight senior VP of technology services Ken Johnson said in a press release. “This is even more critical now, with the tremendous increase in customers working and learning from home.”
Sparklight TV will deliver advanced cable TV features in an app designed to run on streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV. Running on the Mobi TV Connect platform, Sparklight TV will include video on demand, program restart, and DVR capabilities.
The company expects to launch Sparklight TV in select markets in early 2021 and plans to make it available across its footprint by the end of the year. Cable One said that the IPTV service will eventually replace its traditional set top box-based video service.
According to the company, more than 97% of the homes passed by Sparklight’ s network currently have access to Gigabit broadband speeds. Over the past three years it has spent more than $600 million on infrastructure upgrades and began installing modems capable of 10 Gigabit per second speeds, which Sparklight expects to deploy broadly in the coming years.
“We continue to make significant investments in deploying fiber deeper and closer to our customers to not only enhance reliability, speed and performance, but lay the groundwork for the increased speeds of the future,” Johnson said in the release. “The digital needs of our residential and business customers are advancing rapidly, and we are actively working to not only meet but exceed those needs by creating a fast and reliable network that will support next generation technology.”
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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