Double play and triple play models have been on the table since the early 1990s, when cable telephony was added to cable TV offerings. Around the world, various telcos and media companies have attempted mergers, alliances and partnerships to move into this new area. However, the full digitalisation of their networks and increased broadband penetration was necessary before a more economically viable model could be developed.
One of the first companies to explore triple play models in this new environment was FASTWEB in Milan, Italy. Back in 1999 it began to use FttH networks, and has since expanded into DSL networks as well.
TransACT in Australia was also one of the pioneers of the model, using a VDSL network solution.
Australia also saw the first merger between a TV company and a telephone company. This was mainly aimed at an infrastructure level, but in 2005 a combined media and telco company, Soul (SP Telemedia Ltd) (see separate report), began expanding rapidly and entered the triple play market. Today Soul has the largest data network and voice network after Telstra, the largest fully converged voice, video and data IP-based access network in regional Australia and the largest voice-enabled IP network.
Japan and Korea were other early adopters of the triple play model and they have made significant progress, which has spilled over into Hong Kong, Taiwan and other South East Asian markets. For more information, see separate reports:
Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd (HKBN) has traditionally been a leader in this field, and was one of the early companies to offer a pay TV service over its broadband network. Today more than 35 countries offer broadband TV services. The service can be used on TV sets and PCs, and is very competitively priced against other pay TV services.
It was in 2004 that further progress was made in Europe, when the regulatory regimes started to deliver more commercially viable ULL services. During 2006 the triple play model in Europe saw widespread deployment by a number of network operators and providers. Through mergers and buyouts, the year also saw the first quad-play offers, notably in the UK, with mobile telecoms added to existing bundles of fixed-voice, Internet and TV. For more information, see separate report: Europe – Convergence – Triple play and Digital TV.
Italy is one of the core countries in Europe for triple play and converging media applications, and its large population offers enormous potential for content providers. The delivery of triple play services through broadband has been helped by the country having one of the fastest growing broadband sectors in the EU. For more information, see separate report: Italy – Convergence – Triple Play & Digital TV.
In mid-2006 the Netherlands, after Denmark, had the highest level of broadband penetration amongst the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. One of the country’s major media companies Talpa (John de Mol, the inventor of Big Brother and other shows) had a 40% share in one of the country’s leading new telcos, Versatel, since sold to Telia Sweden. This company rapidly developed triple play models; however it was only in late 2006 that Versatel surpassed the 100,000-subscriber mark it had initially hoped to reach at the end of 2005.
The killer application in the Netherlands is football, with Versatel owning the live TV rights for all the important games. For more information on the Netherlands, see separate report: Netherlands – Convergence – Triple Play & Digital TV.
In the US, RBOCs and Multiple System Operators (MSOs) compete to be chosen as the pipeline into the home to deliver triple play services. According to a report published by Business Week, by November 2005, Comcast and the other MSOs with their triple play bundles, had taken 4.4 million phone customers from the four RBOCs. For more information on triple play in the US, see separate report: USA – Convergence – Triple Play & Quadruple Play.
In terms of pricing, basic access to all three services should be made available for around US$50/€50, with extra services being made available at small incremental charges – for instance, US$5 for all-you-can-eat calls, US$10 for a higher broadband speed, US$5 for a games package, US$10 for a set of broadband TV channels, etc.
It was in 2006 that we saw the emergence of quadruple play (quad-play) models that incorporate fixed-voice, Internet and TV with mobile communications as well. More players are planning to enter this market throughout 2007.
Updated February 2007
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