Video Networks, which operates the HomeChoice broadband video service in London, is planning to offer white label services to other operators, while the company has yet to confirm previous plans to roll out a national network.
Speaking at a conference in Amsterdam, Dean Hawkins, the chief operating officer of Video Networks Limited, told informitv that the company was considering offering selected services to other operators.
The suggestion comes as a number of companies are planning to use local loop unbundling to provide a combination of broadband video, voice and data services, although they may have limited experience in managing video operations.
Established in 1992, Video Networks is a pioneer in internet protocol television. The company has offered television over telephone lines since 1996, but despite a re-launch in 2004 it has only around 45,000 customers in the London area, although its network is potentially available to 2.4 million homes across the capital. Previously announced plans to roll out a national network, and the necessary funding, have yet to materialise.
A number of other operators are meanwhile preparing to launch their own broadband services in the increasingly competitive market in the UK. Carphone Warehouse recently announced a bundle of services promising “free broadband forever”.
In such a market, providers can no longer compete only on price and performance, but will need to offer other added-value services, such as video. As many as ten service providers are expected to leap on the video-over-broadband wagon in the UK alone.
While BT is preparing to launch its BT Vision service, France Télécom subsidiary Wanadoo is adopting the Orange brand, and is expected to launch its own converged communications proposition in the UK.
While Video Networks may not have a large subscriber base, it has established a video headend, encoding high-quality MPEG-4 feeds tapped directly from broadcasters. The company also has extensive experience in operating video-on-demand services, and has established relationships with major distributors, which most telcos and broadband service providers certainly lack.
The company is now promoting itself as a potential partner to other broadband network operators, both in the UK and abroad.