FairPoint will begin trialing IPTV service in Portsmouth, New Hampshire over a FTTH network. The trial involves “giving away” 100 HDTVs to willing beta testers in the community. It’s part of a 90 day pilot program in which FairPoint is evaluating IPTV. We contacted Jill Wurm, FairPoint corporate communications manager and asked if this trial is a possible precursor to a rollout of IPTV services across their new New England footprint, which was acquired from Verizon. She responded “absolutely.” It’s an interesting development in that FairPoint is using FTTH facilities that were originally constructed by Verizon for their FiOS initiative. But unlike Verizon, FairPoint is going with true IPTV over these fiber facilities. Wurm says they’ve inherited approximately 24 FTTH communities from the Verizon acquisition. “From the Portsmouth trial, we will do an evaluation for a potentially broader commercial rollout of IPTV across these properties,” she said. She also emphasized that potential future rollouts of IPTV will not be limited to just FTTH communities. “The evaluation will also involve looking at the potential of IPTV over DSL,” she said.
Portsmouth is eagerly anticipating the results of the trial. Despite recently signing a ten year franchise agreement with Comcast, Portsmouth looks forward to Fairpoint entering the competitive fray. “This is the first step. Obviously we’re hopeful it turns out to be successful. I don’t know if prices are going to come down, but it might prevent them from going up as fast,” said Portsmouth cable commission chairman John Gregg to Seacoastonline.com.