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Next Level Announces Telco TV Deployments

Glasgow, Ky-based telco South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative is expanding its DSL-based DTV service, using equipment from Next Level to reach an estimated 20,000 subscribers in 2003.

The deal, valued at $5 million, will result in full-service capability for nearly 75 percent of SCRTC’s service area. Customer demand for Next Level’s video-over-ADSL prompted SCRTC to approve an operating budget that provides for 182 new sites in 16 exchanges.

SCRTC’s ADSL deployment went live in May and has gained about 1,500 subscribers at the rate of 200 a month, with more than 3,000 customers on the waiting list, according to the company. The telco says it can deliver more than 1 Mbps of high-speed data, two steams of DVD quality digital video and voice services beyond 10,000 feet from the nearest central office or remote terminal and hopes to expand to its more rural customers.

“Every other example of ADSL video in North America, even after years of effort, has stumbled at no more than a few hundred users -- specifically because of the inherent technical and economic limitations of DSLAM’s to deliver cable competitive video services,” says J. Michael Norris, CEO of Next Level.

Much of SCRTC’s expanded plan depends on the USAM-SSE, or Universal Service Access Multiplexer, a component that allows telephone companies to add video services to voice and data offerings without discarding existing equipment. It is increasingly popular because of its single shelf size and compatibility with existing USAM line cards, which can provide “triple play” services to 48 individual homes.