Prime Time Communications has expanded HD services to subscribers in Salt Lake City by upgrading to MPEG-4. The changeover took two weeks in May and involved 3800 customers.

“We pulled techs from every locations around the country, with appointments going from 7 am to 10:00 pm,” said Bryon Wentzlaff, director of sales at Prime Time.

Prime Time offers IP-based services to more than 10,000 subscribers. These newly upgraded subscribers had been customers of Mstar, a Utah-based Internet service provider that Prime Time acquired in May.

The termination of the Mstar’s wholesale video feed from Broadweave Networks precipitated the switch. Wentzlaff said the loss of video was staggered, with the final feed getting pulled on May 11. Prime Time’s video comes from Avail Media and the NCTC.

In addition to MPEG-4 video feeds, the project involved software, hardware and labor. In particular: a Mineva middleware software upgrade, the use of Amino AmiNET130 and AmiNET530 HD set-tops, and focused customer interaction both during and prior to the two-week transition that began on May 4.

“Letters, emails and then phone recordings,” Wentzlaff said.

The bottom line was the retention of most subscribers. “We had budgeted for a 300 sub loss,” Wentzlaff said. “We lost about 90 subs.”

The upgrade increased Prime’s HD offering in this system to more than 60 channels.

Prime has three IPTV headends using a mixture of Alcatel-Lucent and Calix GPON equipment in Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Two systems are mix of fiber to the home (FTTH) and hybrid fiber coax. (HFC). Its properties include systems in Denver; Colorado Springs; Gulf Port, Mississippi; Lake Las Vegas, Nevada; St. George and Salt Lake City, Utah.

In Utah, Prime Time also partners with Utopia (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency), a municipal fiber to the home (FTTH) project. Wentzlaff said Prime Time is one of five service provider partners, and the only triple-play provider.

—Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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