Falcon rolls out comprehensive IPTV platform for underserved U.S. markets

U.S. telecom systems integrator Falcon Communications is rolling out a comprehensive IPTV platform, featuring encoding, content delivery, service management and access products, to provide a scalable solution for small cable and telecom operators to rapidly deploy IPTV services.

The local operator market is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. telecom industry with 1200 small incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECS), and an estimated 800 to 900 competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). Many of the customers served by these local operators are in rural areas and are not passed by cable. Designed to rapidly expand access to content for consumers in rural locations, the Falcon platform is essentially an IPTV headend-in-a-box solution that allows telecom companies to offer their subscribers a multichannel TV service to which they could not otherwise have access.

The IPTV project deployment includes the Thomson SmartVision service management platform and multiple Thomson IP set-top boxes, as well as NetProcessor and ViBE products from Thompson Grass Valley.

Falcon aggregates more than 200 national TV channels from an IP satellite service. A Grass Valley NetProcessor receives multiprogrammed transport streams, strips the different protocol layers, separates the individual channels and distributes them as single-programmed transport streams over the IP access network. Local stations are encoded and inserted into the service using Grass Valley ViBE MPEG-4 encoders. The result is a wide choice of local and national channels for rural IPTV subscribers.

Falcon is using Thomson’s SmartVision IPTV service management platform to manage the available content — live channels currently and, in the future, video on demand — as well as subscriber and service offering management and supervision. SmartVision also includes a user-friendly interface on the TV and on the Web.

Multiple Thomson IP-MPEG4 SD/HD-based set-top boxes will be deployed to consumers subscribing to the telecom service providers supported by the Falcon IPTV headend platform.

For more information, visit www.thomson.net and www.thomsongrassvalley.com.