May launch for Arcor IPTV in Germany

CeBIT – HANOVER – German telecoms operator Arcor (part of the Vodafone group) presented its proposed IPTV service for visitors of the CeBIT in Hannover with a working demo. Slated for a trial launch in Kassel in May of this year the new platform will offer around 50 “free” channels as well as 70 pay TV channels. VOD will also be part of the offer. By year’s end the service should be available in 150 towns and cities across the country.

At launch Arcor will only offer a simple set-top box without DVR functionality, but instead the operator hopes to build in time-shift functionality in the network. However, it seems highly unlikely that broadcasters will agree with such technology. German RTL has already successfully sued the company Time Shift TV to stop offering an online DVR service for their channels.

Arcor is the second biggest broadband access provide (after Deutsche Telekom) and has 1.1 million DSL customers. The company is building its own network and hopes to have a potential reach of 60% of the German population. One of the options to increase reach is by buying the Versatel network, which is up for sale, “but only at the right price,” according to chairman Harald Stöber.