Telkom makes progress with VOD plans
The fixed-line operator is making progress with its plans to launch a video-on-demand service and plans to expand its consumer offerings far beyond connectivity and bandwidth supply into cloud-based storage, security systems and telemetry. By Craig Wilson.
Telkom plans to expand into a range of new value-added product areas in an effort to offset the declining margins in its traditional business of providing bandwidth and connectivity.
At the same time, it is making progress with its plans to offer video-on-demand services following extensive discussions with content suppliers.
The company revealed to TechCentral last year that it was talking to various partners about Internet protocol television (IPTV) and other IP-based video-on demand services. It is also upgrading its access network in an investment costing billions of rand, not only so that it can offer consumers higher broadband speeds, but so that it can sell services on top of these faster connections.
Steven White, Telkom’s executive for converged business services, said on Tuesday at a panel discussion at Fancourt, George, moderated by TechCentral, that Telkom is looking at various “interactive video-type services”. He said it has “engaged potential partners” over the past year.
“It’s a very complicated regulatory and licensing environment,” he said. “It’s a long road, but we’re making fairly good progress. We’re looking forward to bringing something to customers soon.” Asked by TechCentral for a more definite timeline, and whether consumers can expect to see the products this year or next, White was coy, saying only “it won’t be a 2014 project”.
White said the move to the “Internet of things” — where everything from cars to fridges are connected with an IP address — is going to force operators to find “services and applications” they can offer “over and above bandwidth”.
Internet service providers that think they can sell bandwidth alone and build a business around that “probably won’t be around for very long”, according to White, who said it’s crucial to create an ecosystem of products and services that offer customers “an experience”.
Telkom wants to offer consumers rich media, interactive services, home security using cloud-based video, cloud-based storage and forms of telemetry such as energy management and control. “It’s not just bandwidth and e-mail accounts anymore.”
Some of the challenges, however, include delivering value-added services like video-on-demand without increasing operating costs excessively and without transgressing the regulatory environment. White says video, in particular, presents obstacles such as negotiating content rights and brings its own, complicated regulatory framework. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media