SES Americom to Unplug IP-Prime Service

Satellite operator SES Americom will pull the plug on IP-Prime by July 31, 2009, disclosing last week that the IPTV service was delivered to fewer than 10,000 telco subscribers in North America.

SES Americom had signed delivery agreements with 70 small telecom operators in North America for IP-Prime, of which 37 have launched commercially.

The Princeton, N.J.-based company said it was terminating the service because of the slow adoption of IPTV by small- and medium-size telecom operators.

Rob Bednarek, CEO of SES Americom/New Skies, said in a statement that “with a subscriber base of less than 10,000 at the end of November and after more than two years of service, the consumer uptake is insufficient to justify continuing operations.”

Canby Telcom president and general manager Keith Galitz, one of IP-Prime's customers, said he was “both very surprised and disappointed” with the decision. The 8,000-subscriber telecom cooperative in central Oregon launched 36 HD channels in September through the service.

“IPTV for a small company is not easy, and to have a vendor exit the business makes it that much more difficult,” he said. “We have begun to examine our choices for the services we currently take from SES, and believe that we will find an acceptable alternative.”

IP-Prime, which debuted in 2005, provides more than 300 video channels and 100 music channels.