Cable & Wireless in student IPTV deal

Cable & Wireless has announced a 70 million deal with triple-play networking service provider Inuk that will make Cable & Wireless the first nationwide network in the UK to provide television services over broadband.

Over the next five years Inuk will provide Cable & Wireless with its IPTV platform and Cable & Wireless will provide Inuk with access to its multicast network.

At the moment Inuk provides its triple-play services, which supplies TV, telephone and broadband, to students at over 40 universities using Freewire in conjunction with the joint academic network JANET and reaches over 100,000 student rooms.

But now with Cable & Wireless providing the necessary platform, Freewire will be able to extend beyond its student user base and spread to users across the UK beginning in March 2008. Cable & Wireless has no plans to sell the services direct to users, instead it will sell wholesale to ISPs in line with its revised strategy for selling internet services. Cable & Wireless quit the residential broadband market when it sold its Bulldog customers to ISP Pipex in September last year.

"We're delighted to have Cable & Wireless as our wholesale partner. The fact that we'll be able to offer our customers the UK's first truly converged IPTV, VoIP and broadband service is a major achievement and testimony to the way our two teams have worked together," said Marcus Liassides, chief executive of Inuk.

So far only HomeChoice, recently purchased by ISP Tiscali has offered multi-channel TV over broadband, but within a limited number of areas. BT offers pay-per-view content over broadband, but not actual channels of programming.