UK Monopoly telephone and ADSL internet provider, BT, faced with as many people switching phonelines away and staying away, as opposed to the magic million people who come back to them, struck a deal with the ever-busy Microsoft to create a new revenue stream - broadband based television.
Internet Protocol based Television is Microsoft's standard, and BT intends to run trials this summer. To facilitate the service, the network is receiving an upgrade en masse to the tune of UK£10billion, and once in place and working, the company intends to ape the tied-in “triple-play” TV/Internet/Phone packages which are offered by cable stalwarts such as NTL, Telewest and Homechoice.
In an age when people may want a mixture of providers for each service though, a tie-in deal for what would represent no change for many would have to be temptingly priced - in spite of the recent announcement to finally start the Local Loop Unbundling process for competitors' access to the network, the vast majority still pay their line rental to BT unless they are already in a triple-play deal with a rival. That's not to mention those happy with their conventional digital TV services delivered through satellite, cable or Freeview to match their smart new TVs.
It's good to see BT willing to compete at last, but we'll see what happens with the take-up rate of the new deal when launched and whether software users may be tied into Windows Media Player to watch IPTV.