SBC, Microsoft Team Up on IPTV

Telco SBC Communications Inc. has taken a big step toward offering video services, signing a $400 million contract with Microsoft Corp.

The deal calls for the software giant to provide electronic programming guides, operating software and servers to help deliver TV signals using Internet Protocol. The advantage of the system is that SBC will be able to deliver TV content, voice and data services in a 20-25 Mbps stream.

“Using IPTV is a way to turn the Triple Play from a marketing tactic into a real differentiator,” says Ed Gracyzk, Microsoft TV Group director of marketing.

Jeff Weber, SBC vice president, products and strategy, says the telco will begin a $4 billion project to upgrade its network with fiber runs in the first quarter of 2005.

It expects to have the video service up and running by the end of 2005.

Earlier in the day, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said high on his second term agenda would be fostering competition, citing particularly phone forays into video and cable into voice.