NRTC and NTCA formally unveiled their SES AMERICOM powered IP Prime product today at the NTCA Fall Conference. IP Prime is a centralized end to end IPTV network, targeting small telcos with a managed IPTV network. North Central Telephone Cooperative of Lafayette, TN was named as the first IP Prime non-beta customer. IP Prime has been in trials with several telcos, including West Kentucky Rural Telephone of Mayfield, KY and BEK Communications of Steele, ND. The NRTC/NTCA partnership will also be marketing a programming rights package for telcos who utilize a non-IP Prime IPTV platform.
IP Prime has garnered much interest among the IOC sector. IP Prime is joined by Avail Media and Falcon Communications, all of whom are targeting the rural telecom sector with a managed MPEG-4 IPTV platform. All of these solutions should stimulate the IPTV market in the U.S., and we may soon see numerous telcos launch IPTV service in the coming months. Many of these telcos have been standing on the sideline, waiting for these managed platforms to become available. These developments should further stimulate an already active rural competitive landscape, empowering telcos to compete with rural cable operators and national DBS providers.