intends to round off its triple play offering with television over broadband (ADSL). Due to its high long-term potential, IPTV is of major strategic importance for Swisscom. Technical implementation together with the various partners poses a key challenge, however. Following installation for Swisscom and Microsoft employees by the end of the current year, Swisscom Fixnet plans to launch Bluewin TV
Following the announcement of the collaboration of Swisscom with Microsoft in November 2003 the market has shown lively interest in the new way of watching television. The test in autumn 2004 proved very positive: over 600 Swiss households in German-speaking Switzerland tested television over broadband and delivered important findings for the continuation of the project.
The commercial launch will not be possible in the second half of 2005 as originally planned, as it has become apparent that the technology currently available is not yet suitable for serial delivery, in particular since the set-top box has no internal hard disk and only one television channel is available. Adrian Bult, CEO of Swisscom Fixnet Ltd: "High quality and full service provision take precedence at Swisscom."
Moshe Lichtman, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's IPTV division: "An international comparison of telecom operators shows that Swisscom stands out as a pioneer in delivering triple-play services and IPTV. Working closely on the test deployments with Swisscom and our other customers has been extremely valuable to us in ensuring that we and our technology partners deliver a complete IPTV solution that encompasses software, set-top boxes, encoding solutions, content and all other components that are critical to the success of IPTV. We and our partners are committed to ensuring that Swisscom can deliver IPTV services to its customers as quickly as possible."
Two steps to achieve the goal
An initial release of Bluewin TV will be installed for employees of the Swisscom Group and Microsoft by the end of 2005. This will enable future customers to benefit from the experience gained with regard to service quality. The commercial launch will take place during the next release in 2006, and the exact date will be decided after the conclusion of negotiations with the suppliers. The aim is to launch a full TV service offering with a broad range of television programmes, a set-top box with integrated hard disk and the possibility of recording and viewing simultaneously via a single connection.
Bluewin TV 300 already offers important new functions today
Thanks to the Bluewin TV 300 service launched in March 2005, customers can already enjoy enhanced television viewing today. The digital hard disk recorder operates via the standard cable network.
As planned, Swisscom Fixnet will this summer start upgrading the infrastructure network to the faster transmission technology VDSL which supports broadband transmission of up to 20 Mbit/s. By 2007 around half of Swiss households will be able to benefit from a VDSL line. The expansion of the network infrastructure will in future enable end customers to receive high resolution digital television programmes.