IP-Based TV Will Revolutionize Entertainment
Company Calls for "Light-Touch" Regulatory Approach to Ensure Consumers Receive New Technology Quickly
San Antonio, Texas, April 20, 2005
IP-based television will change the way consumers watch TV while opening a new competitive choice for millions, said Lea Ann Champion, senior executive vice president of IP Operations and Services for SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) at a U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing about the future of new technology.
Champion demonstrated the capabilities of IP-based video or IPTV for lawmakers and urged them to avoid imposing incumbent obligations on new entrants in the video services market that would discourage deployment of the new system.
"The simple elegance of IP technology is that it allows various broadband applications to communicate and work together to enhance the capabilities of otherwise separate services," said Champion. "It is vitally important for U.S. companies to invest in new technologies. It is not enough to repackage the same old stuff. We must bring a new level of integration and functionality to consumers."
Champion showcased IPTV's future capabilities and services, including multiple pictures-in-picture technology and remote digital video recording from a wireless phone.
In her testimony, Champion urged legislators and regulators to take a "light-touch" approach to regulating new IP-based services.
"The FCC and Congress have so far employed a light-touch approach to regulating the Internet and IP-based services. We need to extend this minimal regulation approach that has been applied to VoIP — only now the "V" stands for video," said Champion. "Only then will consumers benefit from the innovation and choice that is just around the corner."
"In short, we are not building a cable network, nor do we have any interest in being a cable company offering traditional cable service. Instead, we intend to offer customers a new total communications experience, one that they can customize to suit their families' needs and tastes," said Champion.
Champion detailed plans for Project Lightspeed, a $4 billion capital initiative to deploy fiber-to-the-neighborhood and fiber-to-the-premises technologies to 18 million households across 13 states within three years. Through Project Lightspeed, SBC companies plan to deliver IP-based video, voice, and high-speed Internet access services, providing a communications and entertainment experience not previously realized in the mass market. The company plans to offer the first set of products under the U-versesm brand in late 2005 or early 2006.
SBC plans to begin construction of its advanced, IP-based network in the coming months. Lab tests of the technology have progressed, and a field trial is now underway.
Champion also showcased an upcoming service called HomeZone, which integrates satellite TV programming with high-speed Internet access to provide digital video recording, video on demand, and Internet content including photos and music via a new set-top box. The offering will be available later this year to customers who have access to both SBC | DISH Network and SBC Yahoo! DSL services.
SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 50 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at www.sbc.com.
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