Belgacom, the incumbent telco provider in Belgium, recently announced it had expanded its IPTV services and added 250,000 new subscribers since January 2008.

(For the original announcement, click here).

Nokia Siemens Networks provides the end-to-end IPTV solution for Belgacom.

Belgacom is "equivalent to AT&T here (in the United States)," said Brook Longdon, head of global home entertainment business at Nokia Siemens, adding that Belgacom’s network is DSL and fiber, and video is offered in an all-IP environment.

The 250,000 new subs represent a 45 percent increase in sub growth since January 2008 – in a market where competition from cable companies is quite stiff.
Longdon said Belgium has one of the highest penetrations of cable in the world.

"In March 2009, the total number of Belgacom TV users reached 555,000," said Scott Alcott, EVP service delivery engine at Belgacom, in a prepared statement. That number represents a 30 percent share of Belgium’s digital TV market, with cable competing for the rest.

"Cable companies have pretty good interactive services with the European Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standard for providing interactive services," said Longdon. MHP is equivalent to OCAP or tru2way in the United States.

Belgacom’s latest upgrade with Nokia Siemens introduced HDTV, VOD, PVR and interactive features including online shopping and instant voting.

Nokia Siemens end-to-end IPTV includes Cisco HD IPTV set-tops. Unlike U-Verse in the United States, that uses a home gateway to route video to an IP-set-top and data to a modem, "the gateway is not used in Europe," said Longdon. "It’s just a modem distributing video to the set-top," he said.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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