A new Windstream Kinetic TV launch is on tap for Lexington, Kentucky, highlighting ongoing IPTV activity among U.S. tier 2 telcos. This is Windstream’s second IPTV market, with Lincoln, Nebraska the first. Windstream joins several tier 2 telcos who are now embracing IPTV as important to their overall bundling strategy.
Windstream Kinetic TV Launch
Kinetic TV is powered by Ericsson Mediaroom and ARRIS gateways and wireless IP set-top-boxes. It is delivered over a FTTN network, with some very limited FTTH access as well. Kinetic TV offers the usual suspects in terms of features including whole home DVR, TV Everywhere access for properly licensed programming, VOD, and wireless STBs.
Double play bundles featuring Kinetic TV and broadband start at $60/month and can go as high as $125. Triple play bundles range from $65 to $130 per month. Windstream will compete with Time Warner Cable in Lexington.
Growing IPTV Interest
Windstream joins a growing list of tier 2 telcos that now include Frontier and TDS, all of whom have launched Mediaroom-based IPTV. These mid-sized carriers are somewhat new to the IPTV game, having waited a while before embracing it.
The IPTV era began in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, driven primarily by small, independent tier 3 telcos. They were soon joined by large tier 1’s, most notably AT&T, with U-verse TV. But the mid-size tier 2’s relied on their DBS partnerships for the video portion of their bundles for many years.
Only recently, say in the last three years or so, have tier 2 carriers started embracing IPTV. They now appear to be moving cautiously, yet more aggressively as well. Frontier just launched their first legacy incumbent market (outside of Verizon and AT&T acquired markets), and hinted at more to come. TDS said they intended to launch in 7 markets by the end of this year. This current Windstream Kinetic TV launch brings Windstream to two IPTV markets, with more to follow I’m sure.
It’s somewhat interesting timing, given the well documented challenges of the video business. Frontier recently commented that they see an improving business case for IPTV. TDS reports that IPTV helps drive faster broadband tiers and lower churn for their triple play bundles.